We all make choices. Some good and some not-so-good choices have made us who we are today.

I’ve been following the comments on a post one of my friends put on a social media platform. He wrote: “If you can’t afford to pay for college, get a loan. If you can’t afford to pay back a loan, get a job!!!!”

My reaction to the comments that followed has ranged from frustration to surprise and disappointment to total satisfaction. For the most part, the people responding to Brandon’s post agree with him.

For the most part, they agree that the price tag on a four-year degree at most universities is ridiculously high and that predatory lending is a problem.

The most satisfying thing about reading these comments is that they were made by men and women in their late 20s or early 30s, most of who are married and have at least one child.

Most are employed — self or otherwise — and are active in their communities, have a good work ethic and vote. They appreciate a leg-up, but they do not want a handout.

Not everyone agreed with Brandon.

One young woman wrote that people who want an expensive education must come from a wealthy family or choose to suffer in debt because they weren’t born into a wealthy family. She asked, “How is that the American dream at all?”

My young friend’s response brought a smile to my face. He told her that it all comes down to a difference in opinion on the American Dream.

He acknowledged that the taxes he pays are just a drop in the bucket, but asked, “Where does it stop? It’s a one-way ticket to straight up socialism.”

Sorry Bernie. It sure sounds like you’re not getting Brandon’s vote.

If you choose to borrow $100,000 in your late teens and early 20s so you can go to a big university with finely manicured lawns and a “lazy river” in your student recreation complex — without a solid plan for how you are going to pay that back — I’d put that in the category of a not-so-good-choice.

That’s on you, not Brandon or any of his friends or me.

CBS News did a story a few weeks ago about senior citizens owing billions of dollars in student loan debt. One woman went back to school to get her master’s degree at 57. Twenty years later, she has yet to pay it off.

I am truly sorry that woman is carrying the weight of so much debt through her twilight years, but it should not be up to the rest of us out here working hard to pay our bills to have to pay hers, as well.

The good news is that there are a lot of options for young and old alike when it comes to higher education. There are many scholarships and part-time work opportunities available for students.

There are technical schools and trade schools and schools of hard knocks in addition to junior colleges, community colleges and land-grant universities.


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