Monday, April 11, 2005

Opportunity costs 

From the fine Badger State comes a story of a perpetual student.
"I could have, should have graduated many years ago, but I keep passing on the real world's invitation," said (Johnny) Lechner, 28, who is in his 11th year as a student in the University of Wisconsin System, the last 10 at UW-Whitewater. He's taken a full course load every semester except the current one, in which he's taking seven credits.

Lechner has completed 234 college credits, about 100 more than needed to graduate and so many that he's now paying the so-called "slacker tax."

In the University of Wisconsin system, students who exceed 165 total credit hours or 30 more than their degree programs require -- whichever is higher -- pay double tuition....

"I've fallen into some sort of a comfort zone here," he said. His middle-class parents pitched in financially for the first two years. Now he owes $30,000 in student loans but otherwise pays as he goes, using money earned as a waiter at the Janesville Olive Garden.

...Pressed as to why he's still in college, Lechner says, "It's the lifestyle. It's being laid back, going with the flow. If I had a better answer, I'd tell you."
In 11 years he's down only $30k? That's not too bad if you think about it. If you think about a demand curve, there's somebody up there on the upper left-hand part of the line. Mr. Lechner, we salute you for having so low an opportunity cost of staying in college.