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The Downside to Porn Star Success: Belle Knox Will Lose Her Financial Aid

The loss prompts her to consider dropping out, according to an essay she's penned in Time.
 
 
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The sensational story of Miriam Weeks, a.k.a. Belle Knox, the Duke porn star, has always been a sexy cover for the real story of sky-high cost of college tuition these days. And now, that high cost may have just claimed another victim: Belle Knox.

She is, you might say a victim of her own success. Having embarked on a porn career in order to pay her portion of the tuition, she now earns enough that the University has deemed her no longer eligible for financial aid. That puts her on the hook for all $62,000 of it. Fortunately for her, she can pay it, but she has also penned an essay in  Time, in which she criticizes both  the ever-rising cost of college, and the culture which tells every kid they have to go to college, whether or not they can afford it, finish it, or need it.

As she writes in Time:

This year, even after student aid, I faced a $47,000 bill to attend Duke University. My turn to porn to close the gap was so famous, in part, due to my reasoning. Faced with either a degree from a less prestigious school or decades of crushing debt, a few hours of work on a porn set revealed itself to be the best way to avoid getting screwed.

Weeks also writes that she decided to investigate and analyze where her $60,000 plus chunk of change was going.

Officials at my school responded that $60,000 is a bargain — they actually spend $90,000 a year on each student. Let’s break that $90,000 down. Building and maintaining physical infrastructure on campus gets $8,000. Another $14,000 goes to pay a share of administrative and academic support salaries, which in Duke’s case includes more than $1 million in total compensation to the university president, Richard Brodhead, and more than $500,000 to the provost, Peter Lange, according to 2011 tax filings. Also, $14,000 goes to dorms, food, and health services; $7,000 goes to staff salaries for deans and faculty; and miscellaneous costs take up another $5,000.

She admits she has considered dropping out.

I have sacrificed more than my squeaky clean reputation to finance my education. Flying to shoots during breaks means I rarely see my family. And, of course, my choice to finance through porn has meant intense ridicule and harassment.

Although her porn stardom may set her apart, Weeks points out that the tuition problem is one that faces every middle class student and their family. Again from her essay in Time:

I’m hardly the only student who’s struggling with these sky-high bills. Experts predict a massive student loan default on the horizon, on par with the last major mortgage crisis. And, like the mortgage crisis, it’s likely the banks and lenders will be bailed out, while the students will be saddled with wage garnishments and ruined credit.

She's got the problem pretty well identified, but her prescription leaves a little to be desired:

Government must stop the flow of money to schools in order to get tuition rates under control again. That means being honest about the fact that not every child should go to college. Only 59% of full-time, first-time undergraduate students who began their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year degree-granting institution graduate in four years. That also means making students who can’t afford tuition out of pocket find funding in the private market, where lenders are too judicious to lend someone $150,000 to get a BA in underwater basketweaving.

Finally, she calls for the government to get out of the business of subsidizing schools (at all levels) and the free market to take over, inspired by Sheldon Richman, vice president of the Future of Freedom Foundation and “Separating School: Liberating America’s Families.”