Wreck: Selling ad space on graduation caps

Jeanette Cibelli

Nearly every college student worries about the financial burdens of a higher education. Though there are some scholarships and grants available, many students are forced to take out loans to fund their tuition.

Years later, when these students graduate and enter the working world, they are faced with the problem of paying off those loans. The current national total for student debt is around $1.2 trillion, according to USA Today. Coupled with rent, groceries, car payments and other bills, this staggering expense can send recent graduates spiraling into debt.

Is there anything that can be done about this? One student, Alex Benda, a senior studying international business at University of Michigan-Flint, has come up with a unique solution.

In order to pay off his loans before he graduates, Benda has decided that he will sell ad space on his graduation cap to local vendors and businesses. His cap measures 10 inches by 10 inches, which he has divided into 100 1 inch by 1 inch squares, each of which he will attempt to sell for $300. If he is successful, he will earn the $30,000 he owes in college loans. Graduation caps are typically decorated as a nod to a student’s interests, career goals or school mascot, but Benda believes this is a better utilization of that space.

The problem with this situation is not Benda’s business savvy plan. In fact, it is rather resourceful and creative. What is upsetting about Benda’s decision is the worry he feels about his future.

The years that follow a student’s graduation are uncertain and stressful enough without the added concern of paying off thousands of dollars in loans. Students like Benda are turning to extremes, such as turning themselves into walking advertisements, as last-ditch efforts to avoid their debt.

As the price of college tuition continually increases, what other ideas will students think of to combat this issue?