Please don't sell your kidneys to afford college

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Please don't sell your kidneys to afford college

Did you hear the absolutely terrifying news? A survey by MyBankTracker found that 30% of their readers would sell an organ in order to pay off their student loan debt. 38% said they’d volunteer for a questionable health study and 43% said they’d sell half of their belongings. The most popular way students would be willing to pay off their student loan debt? Turning your life into a reality TV show – 55% of respondents would be willing to give up their privacy and become the next Kardashian.

Considering that the class of 2015 is the most indebted ever (and next year the class of 2016 will be the most indebted ever, and so on and so forth until we all have so much debt that it becomes one of those basic things we tell each other on first dates ["Well, I work in content marketing, live in Brooklyn, and have about $30,000 left to pay off my student loans."]), the fact that millennials are willing to do crazy things to pay off their student loans is not surprising!

But things don’t have to be this way. Obviously, a complete reform of student loans would be nice, but for high schoolers looking at colleges right now, that helps about as much as a kick in the teeth.

Luckily, you have data. ProPublica has put together an amazing database of federal student loan debt amounts, organized by college. Now, in unprecedented detail, you can see exactly how much debt the average student at your dream college graduates with. Because I’m a sadist, I looked up to see how people from my alma mater, New York University, are doing six years after graduation:

new york university debt

It’s a little depressing that almost 20% of graduates earn less than $25,000 per year, considering that’s about how much they probably owe in student loans. Actually, scratch that. That’s just normal sized depressing.

Anyway, high schoolers (or parents of high schoolers)! Before you commit, check out the data in ProPublica and make sure that you’re getting a degree in something that will pay dividends, not just make you a really qualified Apple Store employee.

Image: Helen Taylor