Almost every year, universities across the country are increasing the tuition costs for students making the higher education less and less accessible for students and their parents. Per a recent NBC News report, college costs outpaced inflation by 28 percent at public institutions and 19 percent at private nonprofit ones in the decade preceding the pandemic.
Generally speaking, average American parents can’t afford to pay their children tuition and to cover all the other costs during the several-year-long period, so students have no options left, but to take loans and finance their own education. Such was the case with the 28-year-old K. Jones, who despite working three jobs, was not even close to paying off her student debt so she decided to take radical steps.
Jones explained that she had to work three jobs while she was earning her undergraduate degree. Four years after graduation, Jones said that she was still $25,000 in the hole even though she has been living at her parents’ house rent free while she was at university. At one point, she decided to continue her education and earn a master degree in public health, but that came at a cost, adding additional $40,000 per year for tuition.
With no other options left, Jones decided to undergo five rounds of frozen eggs donations, physically and emotionally intensive process, just to pay part of her mountain high student debt. According to Jones, up to that point she already had tried everything, from selling her car to going to community college, but nothing really helped in lowering the debt.
“I saw it as one of the only ways to be able to have any kind of money at all,” Jones told the Post. “I’ve done everything I possibly could including donate my eggs, and powered through and found resiliency to keep going and try to achieve, and have achieved, what society has always told me I needed to do to be successful.”
Jones was only 23 when she was left with $167,000 in loans to pay off and the student debt kept her up at night. Then a friend suggested her to donate eggs, but Jones was skeptical about the idea. Jones started to consider the idea once she spoke to another of her friends, a friend who already had undergone the egg donation process, and that friend said that she made four-months-worth of wages in mere weeks from egg donations alone.
Jones underwent the first round of egg donation and she made roughly $8,000. Then she moved and completed four more rounds of egg donation, donating the eggs at the N.Y. based NYU Langone Fertility Center for $10,000 each time. All in all, Jones made a total of nearly $50,000 which was not even a third of her total student debt at the time.
“Hearing that number out loud every single time almost makes me catch my breath,” she continued. “When you’re desperate to figure things out as a young adult, and you have this crushing amount of debt from the education system, it puts you between a rock and a hard place,” Jones added.
While the amount of money she earned with donating her eggs sounds attractive, Jones further explains that the process is not easy at all, or as she calls it, it’s very physically and emotionally intensive process.
“The whole process itself was labor intensive. I had to learn how to give myself injections. The very first time I was terrified and needed my friend to do it for me. There was a ton of pressure and swelling in my lower abdomen, pain from cramping that made it difficult to walk, stand up, sit down or laugh. And it’s worsened by eating or drinking too much. The best term to describe it is discomfort,” Jones added.
Even after getting her master degree, Jones has had hard time and it took eight months before she found work with a master’s degree citing the Covid-19 pandemic. At the end, she pointed out that the minimum wage “only grew from $1.50 to $7.25, or 350%,” while higher education costs had a “1,400% increase.”
“Older generations have no idea what this feels like with the new circumstances we have to endure,” Jones said.