The cost of education in the US is the highest in the world, and is consistently rated as having some of the best systems around, however, US students also perform very poorly in math and sciences when compared to other countries.
Affording college even with scholarships and financial assistance has put a lot of Americans in debt, a collective $1.6 trillion.
Couple that with the fact that inflation is at a 40-year high, gas prices are the highest they've ever been (as of this writing), and the average cost of living going up all over the country, and it's becoming increasingly difficult for US students to balance going to school and earning a living.
So many folks like TikToker @indiesleaz are forced with a difficult decision: take out personal loans on top of whatever they already may be paying for school in order to continue their studies, find some other way to make money in order to continue going to school, or, stop going to school.
She opted for the latter decision and went viral for posting some of the purported responses faculty from her program gave her when she expressed she could no longer afford grad school.
She begins the video by looking into the camera with a text overlay beneath that reads: "I need to leave the master's program because I can't afford to live on $350/wk anymore."
She listed the responses in text overlays along with stock images of professors. One says: "Oh your parents aren't paying for it?" Another, "Have you tried budgeting?" The third and final comment: "It sounds like you're just not mature enough for grad school."
Other TikTokers in the comments section shared their own experiences with telling financial woes to teachers:
"I had one teacher tell me i had to eat rice and beans. which besides sounding racially motivated, just made me confused"
Some couldn't believe the responses and highlighted just how out of touch some of their comments are.
"Buy a car? Move? On $350 a week? Are you KIDDING?"
"Ok but seriously what is up with this? How is it that faculty have convinced themselves that grad students are teenagers living at home w/ parents"
Then there were commenters who highlighted how privileged some of their responses were and that this is an inherent problem with academia in general:
"yeah and those boomers get discounts now so they can attend basically free even in 2022"
"Academia was always for the rich though, many fields that don't pay well because they don't need to"
"FR!!! I had to switch programs because my last one expected me to do a YEAR of unpaid internships"
"You always hear stuff like that from people who have never been in that situation"
"Had a professor tell me to just follow the science and money will come… I followed the money instead and quit the program lol"
"Boomers loose it when I tell them I dropped out of college but still work for the state."
"My friends always joked about how people who are real adults have a harder time in grad school."