Great article Mike. I too got a doctorate without borrowing a penny, and with almost no family help (I figure under 5% of the cost). I did all sorts of jobs but mostly working in a deli early in the morning and later as a home health aide in hospitals and private homes. It wasn't easy and was not related to what I wanted to do, but it paid the bills and now I don't worry about loans. I don't owe the government a penny. I might have been better off to have become a secretary at 18 considering my field doesn't pay that well, but it was MY choice. Sadly through taxes I am now paying for people to get useless degrees for things that don't need that level of education. We must dismantle the Dept. of Education - a sop to the teachers unions.