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$40,000 for a One-Year Automotive Repair Course

Written by Gary North on August 29, 2012

A young man borrowed $40,000 to take a one-year course from an automotive repair school.

His parents encouraged him to do this. They told him he could earn $0 an hour after he graduated. He makes $13.50 an hour.

Then he got married. Then fathered two kids. He borrows to pay for rent.

His grandmother complained about this in a local newspaper. “How long can he keep doing this? I don’t see an end to this when he is saddled with so much debt.”

Neither do I.

What have we learned, class?

1. Some parents are naive.

2. Some students are financially stupid.

3. Some people never learn. Borrowing for rent?

These people are targets of schools that charge $40,000 a year to teach skills that could be leaned on the job from a local mechanic.

When will it end? Not anytime soon.

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6 thoughts on “$40,000 for a One-Year Automotive Repair Course

  1. Paul Allen says:

    I realize you're a busy man and that nobody is perfect. I also realize that these articles are free and 'you get what you pay for', but as my granddad used to say, "if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right". If you have time for snark, you have time for spellcheck.

  2. Just saying says:

    So, let me got this straight: he knew he couldn't afford the kids, but he had them? Why isn't the wife working? If the grandmother is so worried, she could babysit, and the mother could work.
    And where does this guy work as an automechanic to make only $13/hr? Can he find a beter paying job? Before we decide to berate him for the stupid decision to pay so much for school, let's see if there are solutions to his problems.

  3. He is just copying the federal government!

  4. What about federal aid, or free workshops to learn this? Perhaps because he's not an illegal? Illegals are able to get such training at the cost of the taxpayer. There's something wrong with this picture. As for having children, the wife not working to help pay the rent, is this because she is not an illegal, or riding the Free Express? How many of those ladies hold jobs? Very few. They are allowed to stay home, make more babies and get paid more. Like I said, there's something wrong with this picture.

  5. Bill McCroskey says:

    And no doubt bought tools from the local name brand tool truck vendor (I won't post the name but you all have seen these various tool company 'bread truck' vans going down your streets over the years) at 20 (or even higher) times than he could have at the local Sears store. A friend of mine son bought 10K worth of hand toolsfrom the 'bread truck' to attend a local community college auto repair class. The 10K didn't even begin to fill up his $2,500.00 tool box. He dropped out after a few weeks and his dad thought maybe I could help dispose of these tools (only $100.00 a week for the rest of your life) I told him to give them back and write off the down payment and payments. The tool box and tools might bring 1,500 or 2,000 dollars used on a good day. I have witnessed this scenario repeated over and over.

  6. Ruthless Readers says:

    I try to ignore the typographical errors, but they really are a distraction. And I'm somewhat embarrassed to refer other readers to an otherwise good article that is typo laden. The typos have sometimes stopped me from sending an article along. This hurts the potential growth of your readership.

    In business anything beyond very, very rare typos will cause someone not to take you seriously. Typo on a resume? Into the "round file" it goes. This is common in the business world. It may not be fair or reasonable, but the expectation of the world at large is that it is the author's responsibility to use spell check (or get a friend to quickly proof-read the item). It is not the audience's responsibility to try to ignore distractions created by typos. And yes, typos are very distracting, even when I really do try to ignore them. The audience, like the ruthless consumer, doesn't care that the author isn't able to easily spell check or get a proofreader, just as a ruthless consumer doesn't care about the difficulties faced by a producer.

    In politics, typos can be an embarrassment for candidates used to make intellectually bright candidates look dull. Look at what happened to Romney after his campaign misspelled the word "America" as "Amercia". Was Dan Quayle really better off as a result of the "Potato / Potatoe" incident? (Never mind that either spelling was correct and that Quayle was going off of spelling bee cards that only listed the "potatoe" spelling. It was a media firestorm and to this day, the first thing most people think of when they hear the name Dan Quayle is, "Oh, the guy who didn't know how to spell potato.")

    The fact is typos interrupt the smooth flow of an article and cause the reader to stop, even if only briefly, while he tries to figure out what was meant. In some cases the typographical error dramatically changes the meaning of the sentence. For example, from the above article: "They told him he could earn $0 an hour after he graduated." I don't think the parents meant "$0" and I can't figure out precisely what number Gary intended, but I assume it was a ten dollar increment of some sort in excess of $13.50, as in: $20, $30, $40, etc. But I can't tell which.

    I will point out that obvious, glaring typos are not in the same category as violating some obscure grammar rule that almost nobody knows about anyway. That sort of thing doesn't jump out at a reader and distract him. But glaring typos do jump out, and they are distracting.

    Use spell-check and get a friend or family member to briefly proof-read. It's a better approach than writing an article defending typos. As another commenter wrote, "If you have time for snark, you have time for spell-check." The fact is, for better or for worse, whether it's reasonable or not, among serious people spelling counts!

    Just ask Dan Quayle.