He ran up a million dollars in student-loan debt en route to becoming an orthodontist

  • Written by MarketWatch
  • Published in Economics
‘If you thought about it every single day, you’d have a mental breakdown.’

That’s Melissa Meru, quoted in a much-discussed Wall Street Journal feature[1] published Friday. She’s talking about her husband Mike’s student loans. All million-plus dollars’ worth.

By the Department of Education’s count, as reported by the Journal, Mike Meru, a Utah orthodontist, is in select company. Some 101 people in the U.S., according to the department, are a million dollars or more in federal student-load debt. The number owing at least $100,000 is nearing 2.5 million.

While studying at USC to become an orthodonist — dental school is among the costliest of all postgraduate curricula — Mike Meru, who’d had his undergraduate studies funded by his parents and part-time work as a waiter and graduated debt-free, took out $601,506 in student loans. This Wall Street Journal infographic tracks the debt’s accumulation and expansion:

image The Wall Street Journal

It’s worth noting that the reaction in social media and in the Wall Street Journal comments[2] was not entirely sympathetic, even as the Journal reported that the debt — on which the orthodontist is not even touching the principal with his $1,589.97 monthly payments — could expand to $2 million over time:

There's not a school on the planet that charges $100K a year for undergrad and dentistry. So he was charging, what, all of his living expenses for a decade? My pity meter is sadly broken. https://t.co/sqxSRJ72LN[3]

— tim mullaney (@timmullaney)

How utterly ridiculous to borrow that much money and then whine about having to pay it back.

— CJ 🚲 (@politichick_)

This is entirely their fault....

— PunkRockConservative (@ThePunkCnsrvtv)


  1. ^ a much-discussed Wall Street Journal feature (www.wsj.com)
  2. ^ comments (www.wsj.com)
  3. ^ https://t.co/sqxSRJ72LN (t.co)
  4. ^ May 25, 2018 (twitter.com)
  5. ^ May 25, 2018 (twitter.com)
  6. ^ May 25, 2018 (twitter.com)

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