Got $24,000?

The New York Times does the kind of math that gives me a headache:
The university is offering students who already work in those areas at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club credits for real-world experience that will count toward their degrees. Students also are receiving a 15 percent discount in the credit-hour rate. With the credits and discount, a typical cashier would pay $11,700 for an associate degree and $24,000 for a four-year degree.
Of course, the typical Walmart cashier doesn't have $24,000 under their mattress so they'll have to do what most prospective college student need to do these days – borrow. That means the list of extra costs I offered up the other day was missing perhaps the biggest one of all, interest. But, then again let's leave interest out of this so that we don't have to do much math. Here's some helpful advice from "Mark Kantrowitz, a financial aid counselor..and the publisher of the college financing advice website FinAid.org":
He has his own guidelines for what students should borrow. By his standards, students should not borrow more than their expected annual salary. A student with a reasonable expectation of earning $40,000 a year should not take out more than $40,000 in loans.
Considering the yearly take-home pay of the typical Walmart worker, should any of them really go to college? After all, the expectation has to be that if you take their financial aid, you'll stay with Walmart but your expected annual salary doesn't justify the expense. And you thought debt peonage went out with the demise of sharecropping.

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