Thursday, May 27, 2010

Purdue Graduate Tries to Sell His Diploma on Ebay

Do you feel this way about your degree?

Back in February of this year, a Georgetown Law graduate attempted to sell his JD on Ebay for $59,250 to pay off the remainder of his student loans.

Today, Purdue University graduate Nick Enlow attempted to do the same thing, placing an ad for his 2008 B.A. in psychology for $36,000 to cover his $470 monthly loan bill to Sallie Mae. He also has a degree in philosophy from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Enlow works as a substitute teacher and lives with his fiancĂ© who is working for Teach America. This is what Enlow had to say(emphasis mine):

"Going to college made my life worse," Enlow said Wednesday from near Jacksonville, Fla., where he lives. "That is something that I don't keep to myself. I tell everyone."

His line of thinking isn't the kind that Purdue officials find amusing, nor are they too keen on the auction itself.

But Enlow, 29, said he considers himself stuck in indentured servitude to Sallie Mae, his lender, because he is unable to get a decent-paying job with his current degrees to start paying a $470 monthly student loan bill. In addition to the Purdue diploma, he obtained a philosophy degree from IU through IUPUI. That one is not for sale.

The eBay sale is part stunt and part hopeful act of desperation that an "eccentric millionaire" will pick up the tab. Either way, the Indianapolis native is serious about kick-starting conversations on the worth of a college education and how it can be paid off.

"The universities are handing out too many degrees that have zero real-world application," Enlow said. "It seems to me, almost any major in the humanities or liberal arts will not gain you employment with a bachelor's degree."

Enlow admits to not having a clear post-college career path. During school he fell in love with learning -- reading classics and learning history -- and he assumed that after earning a diploma a job would come easily.

"I think that some of us still believe that when we walk across the stage and get that diploma that we are going to have some type of social status and businesses are going to look at us differently," he said. "But that is not true."
I hope Enlow finds BIDER and the other school scam blogs just so he knows that he is no alone and that he is even better off than most law and graduate school graduates who owe much more than $36,000 in student loans. Several days ago, Angel posted a CNN story about a NYU graduate who owed $275,000 in loans. Of course, Enlow's alma mater is not amused and fired back with a lame response that didn't address the student loan and unemployment crisis facing most graduates today:
"A degree in the liberal arts is not an automatic ticket to a job, but then again, no degree is," said Irwin Weiser, interim dean of Purdue's College of Liberal Arts."However, studying any of the disciplines in the arts, humanities, or social sciences prepares students to be successful because they learn to think creatively, critically and ethically, and to communicate what they think effectively."

"However, studying any of the disciplines in the arts, humanities, or social sciences prepares students to be successful because they learn to think creatively, critically and ethically, and to communicate what they think effectively."
Ebay later took down the sale today which violated its terms of use. Enlow even caught Sallie Mae's attention. The loan company contacted him yesterday to "discuss payment options". Hah. They contacted him to make sure he has enough money for next month's payment. Just another publicity stunt to act like they actually care.

Enlow said he would not contest eBay's decision.

"The dialogue has been started," he said. "What's done is done."


  1. I'd totally sympathize with this guy if his monthly student loan bill weren't so laughably low!

    For frak's sake, I'm forking over half my earnings every month to that bitch Sallie Mae and the Direct Loans demon spawn.

    I'm looking at $350K all told from undergrad, the MA that was supposed to lead to a job in academia, and the JD that was supposed to lead to a job as an attorney.

  2. wow. I will agree that having a liberal arts degree doesn't really help you out in the job department. The lawyers I work for are like oh you have a Masters degree. I can't really do anything with it though. I wouldn't sell it on ebay. Even though it is kind of a worthless degree, I put so much blood, sweat, and tears into getting it (esp because it was during a very difficult time in my life) it kind of makes me feel like I did accomplish something. I also very lucky that the only loan I took out for Sallie Mae was a 2,000 loan for a couple summer classes. My BFF took out a lot from them. I forgot exactly how much she told me she was going to have to pay a month, but I am thinking it was close to a grand a month and that was just the interest.

  3. >>>Enlow works as a substitute teacher and lives with his fiancé who is working for Teach America.<<<

    Wow, you know this relationship won't survive their crushing combined student loan obligations, especially on those puny teaching salaries.

  4. again, the salary stats for college grads that are constantly being pimped via mass media headlines are the linchpin of the college scam. The same mass media that makes a fair chunk of change from advertising revenue from college ads.

  5. Glad you posted about Mr. Enlow. I am glad to be connected with him on Facebook. I am an advocate for those who are struggling or unable to pay off their student loan debt - so I appreciate this piece. Moreover, Nick tried to get me to buy it. Ha!

    -Cryn Johannsen
    Founder of Education Matters (

  6. Oh, also, I know you that you know who I am :) . . . I wanted to post about myself, so that your readers could find me. I have direct ties to people on the Hill, at the DoE, etc., etc., and I am doing everything in my power to push for change. I am, however, not doing this alone (that would be, naturally, impossible). Therefore, I am always looking for volunteers to carry out various activities.

  7. The lie that college teaches you how to think, read, write, and analyze, to an extent you never have before, is a total lie.

    I went to a really good public high school, took all the "hard" classes, and grabbed a bunch of AP credits. Never once was any of the work in college harder or more demanding than high school. Outside of the highest level lecture courses, it was definitely less rigorous than the work I had done in high school.

    College is a tremendous joke, but at the time it was justified as "validation" for yourself and proving you could do the work, and get a degree, to show employers you weren't some slacker. What a stupid justification. I know now that I would have been better off with just my high school diploma and looking for a plumbing apprenticeship.

  8. He got a B.A. in Psychology and a degree in Philosophy and stated he "fell in love with learning..." and he is surprised employers aren't knocking down his door? What is he qualified to do? Who wants to pay someone to "read classics and learn history?"

    The mistake was going to a private university to basically get a couple of degrees in bullshit.

    As a struggling attorney, I have a lot of sympathy for people who worked their ass of studying Con Law and other legal crap, sitting for a bar exam, the MPRE, paying fees out their ass just to qualify to be a lawyer all in hopes of practicing an actual VOCATION.

    I have no sympathy for someone who majored in Psychology and Philosophy. He could have gotten the same education checking out books from the public library.

  9. Don't pay the student loans. What can they really do? That is the myth.

  10. It's funny when the first person tries to do it, but the novelty of selling the degree on eBay has worn out. If everyone does it, nobody cares.

    As for the debt payments, I have a feeling they would be lower if he were willing to stretch out the payment period to maybe 25 years or whatever IBR's forgiveness period is. Otherwise, he should hop onto IBR. $36k in loans shouldn't come out to almost $500 a month. If that were the going rate, people who owe $150k would be paying $2k a month in student loans. That sounds high.

    The first commenter Locke says he has $350k in loans. If the Purdue kid's rate applied, Locke would be paying close to $5k a month. I hope Locke isn't in that deep.

  11. anon @ 2:26pm: I agree. I attended a top notch, competitive high school and college seemed sooo much easier compared to the daily homework and weekly exams in high school. If everyone had the chance to attend a good high school with rigorous standards, there wouldn't be much of a need for college.

  12. Agree with not paying. When you're that deep in, what can they do? Make a bunch of phone calls to you, ruin your credit? You're not ever going to be needing your credit rating to, say, buy a house or anything, so who cares.

  13. I know you idiots. You are the kids that take 6 years to get a degree in communications. You had a Hell of a good time partying it up while I was busting my ass.

    I knocked out my B.A in computer tech in under 3 years and was asked to stay on for the masters program. I did it with out loans by working at a crappy movie store.

    I have no sympathy for you liberal arts kids who spend all weekend at the bars and complain about your 2 classes you take twice a week. Boo Hoo.

  14. No, you didn't do everything right. You majored in Psych & Phi (aka "navel gazing') You didn't research your career interests, the job market, the schools or the best way to finance your education, given your career aspirations. No one forces a person to take a loan or choose your major. You did. You made the choice and you screwed up. Today's generation feels so entitled. Even the title of this blog is emblematic of the issue. You might as well call it "I did everything my Mommy told me to do and I didn't get my toy like she promised." No one owes you anything. That is not what made America the country it is. The colonists and pioneers made their own lives. They didn't sign up for an education. Did some of them suffer because things didn't turn out? Millions of them did. The man who trekked out to Sutter's Mill was not the one who got rich. It was Levi Strauss who did. Andrew Carnegie did not attend Carnegie-Mellon. He built it, after he built a steel-making empire. It's no wonder countries like India and China are starting to out compete us, commercially and maybe some day, militarily (Look at the J-20, the new stealth fighter the Chinese just unveiled). Quit moaning and bitching and get out and do something. At least Tom Joab went to California.

    Lastly, I am a Purdue graduate and the person who thought Purdue is a private school is ignorant. It is Indiana's land grant university, ie. a "public" university.

  15. The numskull who recommended not paying the loans doesn't seem to recognize that the loan contracts are unconditional legal contracts. Commerce and trade depend on the sanctity of the contract. To recommend not repaying the loans is unethical. Of course, that wouldn't matter to an entitled person majoring in of all things, philosophy.

  16. I acutally went to purdue so i know a little about this matter...

    a purdue liberal arts degree is worse than useless. a purdue liberal arts degree means that you spent 5+ (i dont think i seen a single liberal arts students graduate in 4 years) years bitching about the cold, playing cornhole and going to the cactus.

    you dipshits are the reason that purdue is ranked in the 70s in the college rankings. without you, purdue would shoot into the 20s or 30s atleast

  17. I agree with the last post, I also went to Purdue. Studying liberal arts? Thats a joke.... You just hung out and partied for 4+ years. Its your own fault for getting a BA, its worthless. Maybe you should have sucked it up, spent a few less nights boozing and got a real degree, like engineering, or something in the sciences.

  18. well.. that's all comforting, however liberal arts does not simply include psych/dance here at purdue. i'm studying VCD (essentially graphic design) and it's difficult and demanding curriculum. i work two jobs, party less, and spend a lot of time doing my projects. liberal arts also includes industrial design and the computer design programs. BOTH of which are hugely lucrative, my degree only graduates 32 people a YEAR. and we are one of the top 15 visual design schools in the country, people from the art institutes that transfer in have a difficult time keeping up. so please quit belittling the LA at Purdue. i spent my entire freshman year in the biological sciences, did extremely well and then decided that i couldn't fathom research and labs for the rest of my life. instead, i'll most like do straight into an arts department in industry designing the visual graphics that make you stupid people buy shit for your kids. so HAHA. eat that fuckers.



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