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Reinvention

U.S. College Students on Covid Gap Years Are Taking Big Financial Risks

Thousands decided that a pandemic wasn’t the best time to rack up student loans. But the long-term costs are also piling up, experts say.

Ben Michelson outside of his home in Fairfax, California.

Ben Michelson outside of his home in Fairfax, California.

Photographer: Cayce Clifford/Bloomberg

Ben Michelson’s parents probably didn’t envision him becoming a college dropout. But when his classes at UCLA went online last spring, he felt the experience was radically different than what he would get on campus.

“This is not what I’m here for,” he said. “In a very practical sense, it seems almost absurd.”