Anthro student debt: Stories from the debt-free

The surveys are open for another week, but there’s one aspect of the first survey that I’d like to explore a little closer right now: the respondents who reported being free of student loan debt on Survey #1.  Out of a total of 226 responses (as of this morning), 75 people reported that they have zero student loan debt (33%).  This is the most common response to the question about debt.  The second most common response was student debt between $11,000 and $30,000, which was reported by about 19% of respondents.

So what’s going on with the folks who reported no student loan debt?  What do these responses tell us?  My first question when I saw these results was whether the “zero debt” segment would be overwhelmingly positive in terms of their outlook about anthropology and their academic career.  I also wondered if this segment would be more dismissive about the student debt issue, since they don’t have any debt themselves.  As is often the case, however, the actual results offer quite a lot more than the story the raw numbers seem to tell.

First of all, look at how I worded the question in the survey.  I asked “What is your current student loan debt?”  My goal was to get an understanding of how debt relates to attitudes about: 1) individuals’ careers in anthropology; and 2) the student debt problem as a whole.  But the issue with my wording is that a “zero student loan debt” answer on the survey can mean at least two things.  First, it can mean that someone never took out student loans (whether due to grants and fellowships, family assistance, working during school, etc).  Or it can mean that the respondent had loans at one time, but has since paid them off.  There are clear instances of both cases in this survey (this comes out in some of the open-ended questions).  This is important to keep in mind.  Survey #2 asks about total student loan debt people had to take out to finance their education.

Second, I wanted to know if the number of debt free responses could be explained by when people went to school.  Perhaps some people did not have to take about student loans because they went to school in the 1930s when life was free and easy (well, except for that whole Great Depression thing).  A look at the numbers, however, reveals that 53% of respondents last attended college and/or graduate school between 2010 and 2014.  Another 20% attended between 2004 and 2009.  So, nearly three quarters of the responses came from people who have attended college/grad school since 2004.  The lack of debt clearly can’t be attributed to going to college in some more affordable period of time.  A majority are recent grads and current students.

Then I wondered if maybe the responses could be explained by how much schooling people have completed.  Maybe I was getting all of these debt free folks because a high percentage of respondents had only attended a few years of college, and therefore did not accrue much debt.  That possibility seemed plausible.  But it’s not the case.  About 50% of people who said they have no student loan debt have their PhD in hand; another 28% have their M.A. in hand.  That’s 78% of the total.  The majority of these debt-free folks have made it quite far in academia.  We’re not looking at a group of people who have just 1-2 years of college here.

Ok, so what about attitudes toward a career in anthropology?  I asked “How do you feel about your future career in anthropology?” First of all, 14 out of 75 people didn’t answer the question.  I broke down the remaining 61 responses into seven categories for a relatively quick assessment.  Please note that this is just a preliminary analysis based upon the results I have so far.  I categorized 26 responses as “positive/confident.”  These were people who responded that they felt good, confident, or optimistic about their career in anthropology–often with little to no qualifications.  Some expressed positive sentiments about their career but also said they feel lucky or fortunate about their situation.  Still others said they feel positive/optimistic about their career, but also noted that they are no longer in anthropology.  So the “positive/confident” category was certainly internally variable.  A total of 10 people have what I categorized as “mixed feelings,” since they expressed both positive and negative sentiments about their career outlook.  Additionally, I categorized another 20 as “uncertain/worried” because they said they felt unsure, tenuous, concerned, or stressed about their future career.  Finally, I put five people in the “negative” category because their answers were unquestionably NOT positive.  One person in this category simply wrote: “Dire.”  Another said they feel their prospects are “bleak.”

Of course, a lot is lost when we take open-ended responses and reduce them to basic categories for the purposes of statistical analysis.  A lot of meaning gets mangled when we transform stories into numbers.  It’s already bad enough when we reduce stories to short, open-ended answers for online surveys!  So let’s look at a few case studies with as much context as we have on hand.  For each individual case, I’ll list the answers to some of the basic questions, and then highlight how each individual answered the last two open-ended questions.  Please note that this selection is biased toward people who answered BOTH of the last two questions.  Here goes:

1. Socio-cultural anthropologist.  Completed PhD.  Last went to school in 1998.  Currently has a full-time job.  Reason for studying anthropology: “Fell in love with the discipline as an undergrad and went straight through to graduate school to get PhD.”  Received a three-year, un-endowed fellowship, FLAS grant for coursework, and Fulbright IIE for fieldwork.  Family support: “My parents gave me $5000 because I had graduated early as an undergrad. No additional family support.”  Work during college/grad school?: “Yes, after returning from the field, I taught a course for another department (not where I was doing my degree) and then picked up an appointment that I held for two years in terminal masters degree program. I also picked up some consulting work for a local design firm.”  No current student loan debt.  Between $1,100 and $5,000 in credit card debt to finance education.  Reason for loan and/or credit card debt: “Even though I lived very, VERY frugally (large, share apartments or house sits), living expenses were still sometimes more than I could cover.”

How do you feel about your future career in anthropology?

I feel very positively. I love my career choice and am very glad to have become an anthropologist. However, because of success in business (especially in sales and consulting), I never felt trapped in the field, nor did I feel bitter about choosing to make less money. Finally, I moved to Australia about eight years ago, out of the US tenure-track system and into a much more humane, reasonable system with no tenure and collective bargaining for good working conditions.

Final thoughts/comments:

I think undergraduates should be advised to NEVER pursue a PhD unless a scholarship is on the table. I watched colleagues start at the U of Chicago without scholarships, and I simply have no idea how or if they ever were able to get out of debt. Although I did not have much family support (a one-time gift equivalent to what I had saved them by graduating early), with a scholarship and very careful financial management and a significant amount of luck (including fieldwork scholarships and jobs when I desperately needed them), I was able to finish with no debt. It was a precarious balance though, and without the luck, or with children or medical expenses or any number of other things, it would not have worked out.

Clearly, departments need to be more aware of this and to do things like providing safety [net] fieldwork funding or cost-of-living RA positions if there are not other opportunities. Students also need to be encouraged to avoid debt, even if this means NOT attending graduate programs in high cost-of-living cities.

***

2. Socio-cultural anthropologist.  Completed M.A. Has a part-time job.  Currently in school.  Reason for studying anthropology: “interesting, practically relevant in the right contexts, applying holistic thinking.”  Funding: “yes, university support for the first few years, also advisor found grant funding. would not be in a PHD program without this funding. not worth the debt.”  Family support: “undergrad, yes. Master’s, no- took out my own loans (now repaid with working years in between). Phd- no.”  Work during college/grad school?: “yes, all the way through of course. $15,455./ year doesn’t really cut it living in a city.”  No current student loan debt.  No credit card debt to finance education.  Reason for loans and/or credit card debt: “Other than the loan for my master’s ($18,000- now repaid) I have deliberately lived so as not to incur debt. I don’t agree with the mentality that you can dig yourself this hole and expect for it to disappear later on.”

How do you feel about your future career in anthropology?

Tenuous at best but I’m doing what I love so I’ll keep working at it till I cannot.

Final thoughts/comments:

It is extremely unwise to go into a lot of debt to do Anthropology. This means that those without family resources or stellar career prospects are probably likely not to live comfortably after spending so long incurring debt to go to school. We, as a field, should find ways to support those who do not have these resources to follow us into the field BUT at the same time we should think critically about how many Master’s and Phds that we grant. We should not just have PHD programs so that faculty feel better about their own individual intellectual legacies.

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3. Socio-cultural anthropologist.  Completed PhD.  Has a full-time job.  Last attended school in 2013.  Reason for studying anthropology: “I wanted to teach in post secondary education.”  Funding: “Yes. I based my decision to go to grad school on the availability of funding. If I hadn’t gotten these fellowships, I am not sure what I would have done, but I definitely wouldn’t have been able to go back when I did.”  Family support: “For undergrad, yes. For grad school, no.”  Work during college and/or grad school?: “Yes. I was a half-time TA for four semesters, an instructor for two summer sessions, and worked in a research center for 10 hrs/week for three years. ” No current student loan debt.  No credit card debt to finance education.

How do you feel about your future career in anthropology?

I feel like any career in academia is an uphill battle these days. I am also geographically limited because honestly, a tenure track job in anthro is less important to me than loving where I live. The salary and the stress wouldn’t make it worth it to me to live somewhere I didn’t want to be. And as a two-career couple (my partner is not an academic), we have to balance the considerations for two jobs. That said, I think that my personal choices and my professors’ advice have helped me to build an interdisciplinary skill set and to hone my research interests so that I can have multiple career paths–both within and outside of academia. Right now, my outlook is pretty optimistic: I am currently a postdoc with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Not a traditional anthro career track, but since it is a research position at a university, I am hopeful that I will at least be slightly more competitive for the tenure track (or applied, if I decide to stay in research) than I was before this position. But do I think that I will go on the job market in two years and land a stable, tenure track job (any job, not just one in my geographical limit)? No. I honestly don’t think that I will. I think the market is that tough.

Final thoughts/comments:

I could not, in good conscience, advise someone to take on loads of debt for an anthropology degree. I would tell people to work for a few years before going to grad school, have a moderately clear idea of what you want to do and where (i.e. women’s human rights in the MENA post Arab spring, to use a friend’s example, not just global women’s issues) and have a really clear exit strategy (i.e. this is how I am going to fund myself and my research, and here are my backup plans A, B, C, etc.). The sad thing about the debt to future earnings ratio in disciplines like anthropology is that it will turn some really brilliant, and diverse, people away because it is simply too expensive. Anthropologists can make such vital contributions to the world, and the debt load is crippling our ability to receive the training necessary to make that difference.

***

4. Socio-cultural anthropologist.  Completed PhD.  Has a full-time job.  Last attended school in 2012.  Reason for studying anthropology: “Because I hated my last two jobs in CRM archaeology, had a bit of a crisis about turning 30 and hating my life, and decided a switch to soci-cultural and pursuing a PhD was what I needed to do for myself.”  Funding: “Yes. I received a New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarship (fees, insurance, book allowance, small relocation allowance, stipend) for the first 3 years, then a six month extension. I got a Wenner Gren to cover my fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, supplemented by the University of Auckland faculty of Arts research funds. At Auckland each PhD student also gets several thousand dollars of research money that can be used at the student’s discretion.”  Family support: “Only a little bit back when I was still an undergraduate, but every penny I borrowed, I paid back.”  Work during college and/or grad school?: “Yes. As an undergraduate, only starting in my 4th year, but as a master’s student I TA-d (a requirement of my funding), but not outside the university. And through my first two degrees I always worked full time in the summers. As a PhD student, I TA-d, lectured, and did research assistant work.”  No current student loan debt.  No credit card debt to finance education.

How do you feel about your future career in anthropology?

Positively. I got a 3-year, research only postdoc as soon as I finished my PhD, which required another relocation  to Europe. This means new networks, and lots of time for publishing. I am on track to have a strong publication portfolio by the end of this postdoc.

Final comments/thoughts:

I recognize that I am lucky to have spent 12+ years in university and have zero debt load! And even some considerable savings. I think I have also made responsible decisions and used the opportunities presented to me wisely. That said, I did NONE of my education in the US (though I worked there for several years, for 3 different universities). My undergrad and MA were in Canada, much cheaper than American schools, and my PhD in New Zealand, where international students in the PhD pay domestic fees. This has not hurt me in terms of competition for grants, awards, or jobs, and has helped considerably in terms of my financial well-being.

***

5. Medical anthropologist.  Completed PhD.  Has a full-time job.  Last attended school in 2008.  Reason for studying anthropology: “It is a profession I have loved since the moment I first learned about it, and which continues to completely take up all my interests.”  Funding: “Yes — I received multiple graduate fellowships, scholarships, bursaries and grants throughout the course of my undergraduate and graduate studies at two Canadian universities. Subsequent to my PhD degree, I received a two-year postdoctoral fellowship to continue my research and professional development at a third Canadian university.”  Funding: “Yes.”  Work during college and/or grad school: “Yes, during every year of my undergraduate and graduate studies and in positions related to university clerical, administrative, and teaching activities.”  No current student loan debt.  More than $30,000 in credit card debt to finance education.  Reasons for loans and/or credit card debt: “As a single mother of one child during my undergraduate studies, and then as a married mother of four children during my graduate studies, I had no other option but to augment my employment earnings with student loans so as to be able to fully cover my tuition and living expenditures.”

How do you feel about your future career in anthropology?

I have only recently been hired for a tenure-track position in medical anthropology at a small Canadian university, and prior to this worked for four years as an instructor at private and public universities and as a consultant for the private, public and non-governmental sectors in Pakistan.

Should I not have been hired for my current position, I would have had serious concerns for my ability to continue to support myself and my family and, as importantly, continue my research activities (inclusive of conference attendance and publications) as a medical anthropologist.

Final comments/thoughts:

As critical as the issue of student debt, an equally important issue relates to our post-graduation employment. Should reasonably secure and well-paid positions exist for professional anthropologists, then the issue of student debt could be reasonably expected to be resolved through the course of employment and regular earnings. But in the absence of job security and stability, student debts quickly become unwieldy, unmanageable, and potentially detrimental to our financial standing and credit histories (which then has serious consequences for our everyday ability to survive and care for ourselves and our families).

***

6. Biological Anthropologist.  Completed PhD.  Full-time job.  Last attended school in 2010.  Reason for studying anthropology: “I wanted to be a bioarchaeologist.”  Funding: “Yes. University merit fellowship for MA (tuition, insurance, stipend), five years of university funding for PhD (tuition, insurance, stipend), one year of fellowship (national competition). Also grants for fieldwork (NSF, Wenner-Gren, and several small internal grants).”  Family support: “Yes, housing and tuition for undergrad (public, in-state R1).”  Work: “Yes, both: part-time typing and data entry in undergrad, editing and teaching in grad school.”  No current student loan debt.  No credit card debt to finance education.

How do you feel about your future career in anthropology?

Great. I have a TT position and am happy with it and with my contributions to the discipline.

Final comments/thoughts:

I don’t think I would willingly have taken on debt to go to grad school. I was raised to never take on any debt except a mortgage, so I had to go to the cheapest college I could, work a lot, and apply for as many fellowships and assistantships as possible.

***

7. Medical anthropologist.  Completed PhD.  Self-employed consultant.  Last attended in 1992.  Reason for studying anthropoogy: “Fell in love with the field in high school and kept at it.”  Funding: “I got some grants and financial aid through the university but mostly I paid for it by working part time as I studied.”  Family support: No.  Work during college and/or grad school: “Yes.”  No current student loan debt.  Between $21,000 and $30,000 in credit card debt to finance education.  Reason for loans and/or credit card debt: “Could not pay for my daily expenses without credit cards and loans.”

How do you feel about your future career in anthropology?

I am nearing retirement now and am setting up a consulting firm to train others to do what I do.

Final comments/thoughts:

School is ridiculously expensive now and I don’t know how graduate students manage. I did my undergrad in 1970s and grad work in the 1980s when it was still cheap to attend UC Berkeley. NOW?  Whew?!  And the job prospects are much worse so am not sure how those coming up in the field will manage.

***

8. Socio-cultural anthropologist.  Completed M.A.  Full-time job.  Last attended in 1988.  Reason for studying anthropology: “I love the discipline – it meshes with my nature as a person.”  Funding: No.  Family support: No.  Work during college and/or grad school: “Yes, full-time.”  No current student loan debt.  Between $5,100 and $10,000 in credit card debt to finance education.  Reason for loans and/or credit card debt: “Couldn’t pay for classes.”

How do you feel about your future career in anthropology?

Have worked as an adjunct 13 years at community college, employed elsewhere full time (not in anthropology).

Final comments/thoughts:

Tragic that students end up with so much debt before they even start.  Anthropology jobs are DIFFICULT to find, the likelihood of working in the field is pretty low unless you have a PhD and publish.  I could not afford the PhD process – had to work and couldn’t do both.

***

9. Socio-cultural anthropologist.  Completed PhD.  Full-time job.  Last attended in 2003.  Reason for studying anthropology: “Saw teaching as a secure profession (wow- was I wrong) – interest in foreign travel and people – was a good student.”  Funding: “Yes, but not a full ride – reduced tuition and various grants for research.”  Family support: “No–not substantially.”  Work during college and/or grad school: “Yes–both.”  No current student loan debt.  No credit card debt to finance education.

How do you feel about your future career in anthropology?

I feel lucky to have gotten out when I did – although I found it difficult to get a job, I believe each year it becomes more difficult for students.

Final comments/thoughts:

There are generational disjunctures that many senior faculty are insensitive or unaware of the debt and challenges faced by many students.  I also think attention should be paid to the different challenges faced by those going through graduate school at elite universities versus mid-level PhD programs.  The former often incur more debt and while they have chances at high paying, tenure track jobs – they are often shut out of less prestigious positions, with the assumption that they would not be good at teaching at a community college (true in some settings) or that they are just looking for a better position (isn’t everyone).  Mid-level program graduates have difficulty getting jobs at the prestigious institutions, but my have a better chance at many jobs.  Just worth thinking about both sets of challenges.

***

10.  Biological Anthropologist.  Completed PhD.  Full-time job.  Last attended in 2000.  Reason for studying anthropology: “I decided to go to graduate school when I received a fellowship. I was all set to go to veterinary school (which would have really put me in a load of debt), when I learned that I was accepted to a PhD program with a fellowship. This was a bit of surprise (note that I had broken my lease and was planning on moving the following month to the town where the vet school was).  I had an abiding interest in human evolution and chimpanzee/primate behavior from the time I was about 5 years old, so grad school seemed a natural thing to do. I was just too poor to be able to attend anything but a funded program.”  Funding: “Yes, full fellowship through quals. Mellon funding and Fulbright for dissertation. Some write-up fellowships too.”  Family support: No.  Work during college and/or grad school: “I taught the bejesus out of a lot of undergrads. My wife and I also lived in an undergrad house as resident fellows for four years. In addition to being RFs, I took on a number of administrative tasks associated with the house for extra pay.”  No current student loan debt.  No credit card debt to finance education.

How do you feel about your future career in anthropology?

Meh. I am pretty disillusioned by anthropology right now and am contemplating leaving my department. It seems that we are doing everything possible to make ourselves irrelevant to the academy of the 21st century. It’s discouraging to teach in a department that is hemorrhaging majors. I find the questions driving the field uninteresting at best, often trivial, and, at worst, undermining the very people for whom anthropologists are supposed to be advocates (despite lots of fancy rhetoric to the contrary).

I really don’t see much of a reason to stick with anthropology institutionally and see myself moving to an interdisciplinary department/program where applied problems are taken seriously and people fret far less about whether what other faculty are doing should count as anthropology.

Final comments/thoughts:

Student debt is a major problem. Too many idealistic students get sucked into crushing debt with little real chance of getting a job. Unfortunately, many of these students also don’t acquire skills that would allow them to move into the private/public sector.

A troubling trend I have seen is that a very small club of schools get the jobs at the elite programs and this club has a disproportionate effect on shaping the field overall. Schools like Chicago, Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley appear to actively discourage students from acquiring portable research skills and are disdainful of applied work. I think that this is extremely bad for the large number of students who graduate from these institutions — and others influenced by them — who will not themselves get jobs at elite universities.

More departments like ASU and Florida — and graduates from these programs getting jobs — are necessary for the health of the field and for the financial well-being of anthropology graduates.

***

11. Socio-cultural anthropologist.  Completed PhD.  Full-time job.  Last attended in 2006.  Reason for studying anthropology: “After college, I worked for a year in the corporate world and realized that pursuing anthropology would be much more interesting.”  Funding: “Tuition waivers for my first three years of classwork in grad school, and then two fellowships through the university for the next 2 years. I worked 4 jobs the last year while finishing up. I remembered that my undegrad advisor told me / warned me ‘do not pay for anthro grad school’.”  Family support: “No, never.”  Work during college and/or grad school: Yes.  No current student loan debt. Between $1,000 and $5,000 in credit card debt to finance education.  Reason for loans and/or credit card debt: “In my final year of grad school I could barely pay rent.”

How do you feel about your future career in anthropology?

I’m not in academia. There are a lot of prospects today for cultural anthropologists if you know where to look. I work for a design firm, which, combined with my anthro background, will hopefully create even more opportunities for me in the future.

Final comments/thoughts:

It’s unethical, I feel, for anthro departments to bring on grad students that they cannot either fund or help find funds for. My one bitter note is that my PhD dissertation was not nearly as strong as I felt it should’ve been because I was under so much stress financially to finish in my last year. Partly, this was my fault yes. But I feel that when a person is under financial stress, it is very difficult to have the peace of mind to think big, to think theoretically or to think broadly and globally. I’m very grateful for the financial support I did receive however, and I’m happy and proud to call myself an anthropologist.

***

12.  Socio-cultural anthropologist.  Completed PhD.  Part-time job.  Last attended school in 2010.  Reason for studying anthropology: “Because it was an intellectually stimulating and socially engaged career path.”  Funding: “I received a five year graduate opportunity grant and stipend for graduate school which was complemented by a three year NSF fellowship.”  Family support: “My family payed for my undergraduate education, but not my graduate education.  However, they did help make up some of the difference when my stipend did not meet all my living expenses.”  Work during college and/or grad school: “I had a small part time job in the library system.”  No current student loan debt.  Between $11,000 and $20,ooo in credit card debt to finance education.  Reason for loans and/or credit card debt: “I took out credit card debt during graduate school when I realized I was not really making enough to live on with my stipend and I became embarrassed asking my parents to bail me out a few times a year.”

How do you feel about your future career in anthropology?

I was initially optimistic, but after spending 4 years as a practicing anthropologist after grad school without landing a TT job, I am starting to look outside the academy for a new career path.

Final comments/thoughts:

I have since paid off my credit card debt, but this was in part because I got married and my spouse’s full time job allowed for me to more rapidly get rid of that debt than I would have been able to on my own as a contingent faculty member.  My spouse is fond of pointing out that it is families and partners that end up bearing the financial burden of student and contingent academic careers, and he is concerned that my lack of financial independence will hurt my self esteem going forward.  I have to agree with him.

***

As I mentioned at the start, a lot of the folks who reported being free of student loan debt have positive attitudes about their careers in anthropology (26 out of 75).  This is undeniable.  But even among those who said they feel positive about their own career, a surprising number took the time to express their thoughts and concerns about the overall student debt problem.  While there were some dismissive and, frankly, somewhat condescending responses about student debt, those kinds of answers certainly did not dominate (there weren’t many that were outright dismissive–maybe this is a testament to the general empathy of folks who end up in anthropology?).  Although it might seem safe to assume that anyone who is debt free is also free of any worries or concerns, keep in mind the fact that more than 1/3 of them reported feeling uncertain/worried about their career, the job market, etc.

As the selections above illustrate, many of the people who have either avoided debt–or found ways to pay it off–are still quite concerned about how debt is affecting the wider discipline of anthropology.  It wasn’t what I expected.  But then, that’s the whole reason for going out and asking more questions about these kinds of issues.  I also think some of the personal thoughts and concerns that people have shared above remind us that while stats are valuable, it’s often the stories that people tell that truly help us understand issues like the current student debt crisis.  Not a shocking conclusion, coming as it does from a cultural anthropologist!  After reading through all these responses I want to hear more, in-depth stories about debt–and also how people have avoided debt.  Anyway, if we’re getting this level of concern from folks who are debt-free when it comes to student loans…well, more soon.

UPDATE I 1/25/14: There is more to look at with this data as well, of course.  Like the question about family support.  I asked “Did your family help you with any of your educational expenses?”  For people who reported no student loan debt, 66% (48 respondents) said they had some form of family support.  Often this was help during undergraduate programs.  31% (23 respondents) said they did not get any help from family.  Three percent (2) did not leave an answer.

Ryan Anderson is a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Kentucky. He is currently writing up his dissertation, which is about the politics of development in Baja California Sur, Mexico. You can reach him at ethnografix AT gmail dot com or @publicanthro on twitter.

5 thoughts on “Anthro student debt: Stories from the debt-free

  1. I’m an undergrad anthro student with about 2 years left. I’m double majoring with Russian and have been debating dropping my anthro major. I’ve considered dropping anthro all together, but I’d really like to keep my anthro degree. Honestly, I don’t want to end up in academia–I’m looking for an applied career. My questions are the following:

    Do people in applied fields value PhDs? Would this be beneficial for me?

    If getting a PhD would benefit me, should/could I drop my anthro BA and only minor in it and still get into a decent PhD program? (Considering that I already have fieldwork experience through my Russian degree and various work experiences.)

    Your recommendations would be greatly appreciated; this is something I loose a lot of sleep over… If I drop my anthro BA, I could be done with my undergrad by the end of next semester, which is highly tempting. I’ve been able to stay debt free thus far through scholarships, Pell grants, and a lot of hard work… But the future freaks me out.

  2. An archaeology colleague of mine pointed to a recent survey of people doing applied work that showed that to be a top earner in the field you did end up having to get a Ph.D. I have absolutely no idea where that study is so I may be making stuff up, though.

  3. I appreciate so much that you are sharing extensive text from the responses. Each of these perspectives deserves to be read and heard widely. The data on debt are interesting, but the “how do you feel about your future career” responses are much more valuable.

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