Originally Posted by aravenel
Definitely. There's a problem there, but that doesn't give people carte blanche to act like irresponsible idiots. If you can't afford it, regardless of whether or not it is "too expensive", don't go.
This girl is an idiot. It would be one thing if she had racked up that kind of debt to go to MIT or Stanford and come out as an immensely hireable programmer... It's another to do it with no defined benefits or plan where she maybe wants to become a "human rights activist" (speaking of--is that even a thing outside of independently wealthy philanthropists?).
Ask her again in 10 years if she thinks the "small class sizes!!!11!" were worth it.
MIT, Stanford, and the Ivies have extremely generous financial aid programs, most having been implemented in the last few years. See: just after my graduation year
(ok, it didn't matter for me in the end).
Most say if your family income is below $65K or $70K or something, you pay nothing at all to attend. Up to incomes of $150K, you pay roughly 10% of the income. Above that, and I think there's some other type of gradient. Furthermore, most Ivies with match the aid packages from other Ivies (plus usually MIT, Stanford, Duke).
It would be fairly hard to rack up that much debt from a top school unless your parents are fairly wealthy and give you NOTHING for college. Unfortunately, this does happen.