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Chef Bankruptcy: $142,000 Student Debt, $10 an Hour Cooking Job

Written by Gary North on August 13, 2012

A man who owes $142,000 in student debt is on disability. He gets $1,200 a month. The debt is getting larger: interest payments.

He initially got a cooking job. He was paid $10 an hour. That’s what $142,000 got him.

What did he major in? Culinary arts? That’s a fancy phrase for cooking.

He lives in a van and is helped by the Salvation Army. Meanwhile, the debt gets larger.

Stories like this are everywhere. People think they are doing themselves a favor by taking on student debt. Then they find themselves trapped for life.

This man can probably get out of the debt. He is in poverty. He is homeless. A judge may listen. In cases where the person’s situation is beyond hope, judges can grant bankruptcy protection.

He attended an expensive private school. Why anyone pays this much money when he could apprentice is beyond me.

Forbes ran an article on the worst paying jobs in America.

The lowest-paid workers, fast food cooks, earn $9 an hour, for an average annual salary of $18,720. More than a half million people in the U.S. hold this position, and another 2.8 million are in a food preparation and serving job, the second worst-paying occupation.

If you attend culinary school, you think you will be a high-paid chef. Where is the evidence? What is the average starting wage of the graduates? Find out before you attend. And don’t borrow money to attend.


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11 thoughts on “Chef Bankruptcy: $142,000 Student Debt, $10 an Hour Cooking Job

  1. John Stewart says:

    This certainly says a lot about the alternative, vocational education.

  2. VoiceOfReason says:

    Unfortunately, for the past couple of decades many people enrolled in college who didn't belong there. Much of the reason that these people should have been there stems from the total failures that the teacher's-union controlled public schools are huge failures. Additionally, many people subscribe to the falsehood that "everyone deserves to get a college education", and there are huge numbers of kids who simply don't have the intellect or the grit and self-discipline to take the difficult courses that would lead to a worthwhile degree–here's a clue, it is not a "liberal arts" degree.

  3. Dunewoman says:

    This says a lot about for-profit scam "colleges" feeding off of the government Title IV Federal Financial Aid … aid to these schools must be eliminated! They are sucking the life out of poor students with their lies and leaving them with a lifetime of debilitating student loan debt slavery while the schools turn a profit at taxpayers expense!

  4. VoiceOfReason says:

    Make that sentence read, "Much of the reason that these people should NOT have been there …"

  5. Patriot1776 says:

    It says as much about the students attending the schools as it does the schools themselves. Was there any effort put into thinking about what effect their education would have? What would be the return on the investment they were making in their education? Part of the blame lies with the public school systems for not preparing the students for life, part belongs to the parents for not preparing their children for life, and part belongs to the students for not thinking for themselves.

    Life isn't a video game, it's real and there is no "do overs".

  6. guest on this planet says:

    Could have just skipped school , learned Spanish and got a job at mc donalds , at least he wouldnt be in debt . Probably would get food stamps and free medical .

  7. Colonialgirl says:

    He could have skipped school, got a job at McDonald's or another fast food place and worked his way up to a management position if he had the smarts. Given that he spent $142K to learn to be a cook does NOT speak highly of his intelligence.

    I knew a kid that owed over $100K had a Masters in "Fine Arts" and wanted to be an "artist"; He was working at a art and craft supply store as a clerk. Nice kid but hadn't really thought.

  8. Wapitiman says:

    He received the monetary value, now he has to pay it back! The entitlement generation is learning that life is a bitch !

  9. Well, so much for that easy high paying cushy job that is expected if you go to college. Probably thought he could pay that student loan off quickly, or have it paid by somebody else, who knows. The real world is hard to wake up to. Too bad commonsense is not taught in school, but there again who would we get to teach it?

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  11. […] with piles of student loan debt to pay off with low paying jobs, the chef, well, cook, with a $10.00 per hour job and $142,000 of student loans to […]