Bea Dimaunahan writes a powerful story of being short of cash in her last semester of undergraduate school. I am sure it is a story that is repeated, routinely, as I have two friends today in similar circumstances.

Her story speaks to a much broader issue: The dilemma of student loans. Students buy the widespread lie that the only way to succeed in life is to take a four-year degree, “…or else, no one will hire you.” Some students rack up student-loan debt of six figures. You can do the math for the decades it will take to pay that sum down.

In our educational ‘system’ there is no room for skilled trades and/or self employment, yet 3 million skilled-trades jobs go unfilled each day in the USA. In our small state of West Virginia, we continue to see the outmigration of the young — often the brightest and best — who have heeded the long-held stance of this state: “The only way you can make a decent living is to work for someone else.” As I have said many times, that ‘someone else’ is routinely in some other state.

The increasing expense of higher education — and the concurrent student loan debt — will soon turn our state into an unpopulated game preserve.

Reader, blogger, musician and music promoter/event producer. Community activist and educational advocate.

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