BERKELEY, Calif. – Sophomore Bridget Martin wanted to be a computer science major, but due to the high tuition costs for out-of-state students, she has instead been forced to declare bankruptcy. 

“I remember senior year of high school I nearly tackled my friend out of pure joy when I saw my Berkeley acceptance letter. I couldn’t stop crying tears of joy for 20 minutes straight. I kept reopening the email to watch the animated confetti light up my screen, I just couldn’t believe I actually got in, ” Martin lamented. “I figured, okay, I’m from Nebraska, and even though out-of-state tuition was $43,980 compared to the in-state cost of $14,226, it would be worth going into debt because I’d get a computer science degree and pay off my loans.” 

Many out-of-state students new to California’s housing economy suffer from high volumes of debt, but are unaware of more hidden odds stacked against them, or alternatives. 

“I got here and had to work four jobs to afford a meal plan alone, and frankly had no time to study. When I bombed CS 61B, I settled for Data Science. But with a few Pandas differences-in-differences simulations in Jupyter, I calculated that, with inflation and the nationwide housing crisis, I’ll be better off declaring bankruptcy now than going into debt for a tech degree during the worst hiring freeze of the 21st century. My major advisor told me bankruptcy is now an option, so go figure! I’m pulling a Michael Scott. And fuck you, California. I tried to love you,” Martin sighed, glaring at the Pacific Ocean. 

The ghost of California Governor Ronald Reagan, whose Proposition 13 cut taxes on luxury real estate to effectively defund the UC and permanently end tuition-free college in California, weighed in on Martin’s decision to declare bankruptcy, even though no one asked. 

“It brings me great pleasure to see a Berkeley student suffering financially – but out of state, bankruptcy, it’s more than I could have ever hoped,” the ghost said as it failed to remove a solar panel from a local’s home due to its lack of physical tangibility. “Ever since those free-speech talks I wanted the school to burn down. In 1966, I proposed to stop letting kids go to college for free. And then I fired the communist UC president, drained the system of state funding, and catapulted generations into crippling student debt, because hard-working Americans like me should not be paying taxes so those unwashed radicals can learn about class inequality! And there’s a perfect solution – who needs property bonds when you can just charge an extra special price for students who don’t already live in the priciest state in the country? While tuition dollars trickle down, out-of-state dollars really trickle down – hopefully soon to my luxury home in the fourth circle of hell. My taxes are far too untraceable for me to have empathy, but I do hope that one day, capital earned by nepotism-babies exploiting the working class will trickle down to my Bridget.” 

At press time Bridget’s uncle patronizingly told her that it was “totally okay” that she wanted to go to community college, while she struggled to resist the urge to slap him. 

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