Hi, I need help in making a (big) decision. I've been accepted to a small top-tier Liberal Arts college in the USA (I'm not a domestic student) and intend to major in Physics there. I am very confident of my academic skills, especially in Physics (let's do away with modesty for a while, because I'm making an important decision) and hope to do a Ph.D in a very good university after I graduate. The problem, however, is that I'll be graduating with a debt of around $20,000 to $40,000 (depending on how much my parents can pay). My other options are strong (academically), but they don't offer me the kind of education I want (read: small college, individual attention, broad curriculum, etc.). I want to know whether you think it is realistic for me to graduate with such a large debt, get a Ph.D and repay all debts (including the $20k to 40k for college + extra debt to earn a Ph.D, if any). Although I will resort to higher paying jobs if necessary, I would prefer not going into the big bad world of companies, writing formulas for investment bankers on Wall Street who will bring the world economy crashing down so that 18-year-olds don't get enough financial aid to go to college without worrying about such things. Put simply: I'd like to stay in the traditional research/teaching business. Thanks in advance! PS: It's a pity my first post here had to be so negative, I hope the rest of my stay at PF will be more physics oriented - more enjoyable.