“Career Student” Husband Wants To Stay in College For The Foreseeable But Wife Grows Concerned

Graduating from college can be a stressful transition in life. It entails going from the safety and familiarity of a school routine to applying for jobs, apartment hunting, and just generally figuring out how to function in ‘real life.’

Most people don’t have the luxury of staying a student forever. However, one woman’s husband has managed to postpone that major life change for the past twenty years.

Concerned, she turned to social media to ask: is it a “red flag” that her 40-year-old husband has spent the last two decades still at university?

He Qualifies For a Special Grant

How could anyone afford such a costly endeavor? According to her post, the husband finances this never-ending stint as a college student through a special university grant for indigenous students.

As the only applicant in the past several years, the husband is almost guaranteed these funds annually. Including several “age-based” bursaries, the amount of yearly financial assistance he receives totals around $40,000 US dollars per year—none of which needs to be repaid.

“[My husband] describes himself as a career student because he loves being in school,” the Redditor shared. “It’s all above board; the university even encourages it.”

He Has Many Bachelor’s Degrees

Consequently, the woman’s husband has amassed an impressive collection of bachelor’s degrees in a wide range of subjects: “linguistics, history, chemistry, computer science, [and] accounting.” The man’s most recent academic undertaking is completing a physics degree.

“He loves to learn and to teach others; he’s the smartest person I know,” the woman wrote in her post. “He says he stays in school because it’s his ‘hobby’, and he’s paid a pretty penny for it. We’re completely debt-free.”

Despite not having a problem with the unusual arrangement, the wife did confess that she would like to see her husband “apply himself outside of a school setting.”

However, she acknowledges that—with his student grants—the husband can provide for the family while only ‘working’ ten hours per week. “We don’t live in luxury but live comfortably,” she concluded.

She is a Little Bit Embarrassed About It

Nonetheless, the commenter is concerned with how others may perceive their unique lifestyle. She hides the full details of their situation from her friends.

Instead of admitting that her husband is a ‘career student,’ the woman tells them that her spouse attends school part-time and has other responsibilities. Would others on the Internet also judge her husband poorly?

Social Media Users Reacted To The News

Online users did not disapprove of the husband’s academic endeavors in the slightest. On the contrary, an overwhelming number of Redditors applauded his love of learning. “Seems like he’s living the dream. Would love to do the same!” was a sentiment often repeated in the comment section.

“I wish I was paid to go to school,” wrote one jealous commenter.

Another user envisioned how the world would benefit if more people had access to such a rare opportunity: “A lifetime of learning sounds like heaven to me. If this were possible for everyone, we’d have fewer people proud of their ignorance.”

Conversely, some commenters questioned the ethics of repeatedly applying to “apparently not-well-advertised educational opportunities,” which were originally intended to uplift members of a disadvantaged community. 

“[The husband] could have raised awareness about this opportunity in his community, helped so many more families lift themselves out of poverty,” one user criticized.

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However, most commenters were simply interested in learning where such an arrangement would even be possible. “What country is this?” was the most common inquiry.

“It is Australia,” the wife replied. On average, the cost of a bachelor’s degree in Australia can range from approx. $10,000 to $22,000 US dollars per year—60% less than the average annual cost of higher education in the United States.

Redditors curious about the woman’s career were also satisfied in the comments. “I run a daycare out of my home, making about comparable salary-wise, although this is a new career for me. I originally just worked retail,” the wife revealed. “He saves most of what he earns; I save a big chunk too.”

“It sounds like he’s not amassing crippling debt, and he’s providing for both of your needs,” another commenter weighed in. “Doesn’t seem like a red flag to me. … Don’t let societal expectations ruin something awesome.”

“The only red flag here is the fact that his partner wants to dictate how he earns his money,” chimed in a fellow Redditor.

In response, the wife was quick to defend her position. Both she and her husband are happy with their current arrangement, especially since it provides them with enough income to live contentedly (albeit simply).

There Is Just One Worry

Since the university essentially maintains the grant for the benefit of her husband, the woman is concerned as to what may happen if their situation changes.

“The only thing that worries me is eventually he’ll need to enter ‘the real world’ and work, probably for someone else,” the wife reasoned. “Not a lot of entry positions, irrespective of your education, for someone who is forty.”

“If you are concerned, maybe encourage him to get a library science degree. He sounds like the perfect candidate to be a librarian,” suggested another helpful commenter, and a fellow user agreed. “That’s a pretty great life, especially since he probably gets a lot of vacation time off. … Think of it like if he’s a researcher, getting paid to learn.”

Social Media Users Were Overall Supportive

On the whole, the comment section was supportive of the husband. “I’ve often said that if I had infinite money, I’d just spend my life collecting bachelor’s degrees. I love learning and not having to do anything with that knowledge except appreciate it,” wrote on Redditor.

“Except, not accept,” corrected another user in reply.

“Whoops. See, I need more school,” the Redditor concluded.


This article My 40-Year-Old Husband Has Spent 20 Years in College, Is This A Red Flag? was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Source: Reddit.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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