We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys argues for repealing those non-dischargeability provisions, at least for private lenders. That is actually a good idea, as long as, on the public side, the federal government gets out of the student-loan business altogether. No direct lending, no loan guarantees to the private sector--and no disability-rights oversight, either. Without the twin safety nets of non-dischargeability and taxpayer guarantees, a lender would be entitled to ask the next Carol Todd, without even broaching the subject of her Asperger's: "We've already lent you tens of thousands of dollars that you haven't repaid on degrees that you haven't used--why, exactly, should we lend you even more for yet another likely useless degree?" There would be nothing like having to live with the consequences of one's imprudent lending decisions to put an end to irresponsible adventures in higher education at public expense.
Unfortunately, Judge Gordon's ruling in Todd's case seems to point in another direction: toward relaxing the non-dischargeabiity rules by judicial fiat, so that ever-large numbers of people can load their student debt onto the backs of taxpayers on the basis of some chronic ailment that should have barred their borrowing in the first place. That's the worst of both worlds.
I'm NOT for this kind of taxpayer funded perpetual student life BUT Asperger's is not an ephemeral disease. In general, the term is used a lot nowadays as the least stigmatizing way to describe a person with high-functioning autism. But I wouldn't wish ANY form of autism on any member of your family. You would not find it ephemeral, BillH, if a grandchild were diagnosed with it. Very few people actually have Asperger's. Lots have autism.
Many people with high-functioning autism can do well in structured environments like schools, or universities that allow them to research subjects that interest them. But despite popular stereotypes, not very many Asperger's type or autistic people are actually math and science or computer geniuses, tho most of the ones I know DO love computers and video games.
Most jobs nowadays demand a high degree of social skills, even if it's simply a matter of listening to and obeying the instructions of a foreman or manager. If a person with Asperger's is NOT a brilliant graphic designer or IT wizard or the like who is given free rein, their habit of speaking their mind and following their own path can make it hard to get and keep work. If you look at the age of the woman in the story (39 when she got her GED), you can see that she would have had more trouble with each year finding work because she wasn't a) young and b) socially adept.
One could imagine her getting a degree, then trying to get a job in something related, having no luck, and deciding to go back to school where there was at least some community, and some activity and disciplined work to keep a focus on.
On the other hand, it's ridiculous for anyone to get student loans for degree after degree. One undergraduate degree, and one professional degree is all the taxpayers should have to lend a person.
Reading the article, the schools she attended sounded very marginal, and I wondered if they were degree mills that encourage people to enroll and help them get loans. Like those "training" institutes that extract money from the Feds to train the poor in useless or outdated skills.
Aspergers is not as common as what is being diagnosed. If an individual is high functioning and college able the only special financial deal should be scholarships. The people i know with Aspergers children do tend to blame what used to be called character traits on a medical disease and therefore the child can be unaccountable for things he doesnt want to do.
Do not trust your gut and your observation on this one, Becky. Confirmation bias is easy when the N is small.
I'm increasingly anti-loan for anyone, but that's just me being ridiculous, reacting against the current abuses. And kicking myself for some college costs for younger sons that could have been avoided if I had been thinking objectively.