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KFC Uses American College Debt Hellscape to Sell Chicken

Just name your baby after Colonel Sanders and $11,000 can be yours

KFC Menu Items and Restaurant Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for KFC
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Future parents are getting a chance at an $11,000 jumpstart on their future baby’s college education this September. The only catch: They have to brand their kid with the name of KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders. In a truly cynical sort of “race,” the fried chicken chain has announced that it will award $11,000 in tuition to the first baby born on Sanders’s birthday — September 9 — that also has the first name Harland.

Naming a baby after a brand is a temporary and profitable stunt for a company and a very permanent part of that small human’s life. Unfortunately, for that amount of money, one can barely afford to pay for a year of in-state tuition and fees at America’s least expensive four-year public institutions — and college costs are expected to continue ballooning. A kid born next month who ultimately decides to attend a top-tier college could face up to $100,000 a year in tuition. Even with interest, this KFC money barely makes a dent.

The whole scheme says a lot about the depressing state of higher education. According to the most recent numbers, American student loan debt is now valued at $1.5 trillion — more than auto loan debt and credit card debt — and approximately 20 percent of debt-holders are behind on their payments. Yet for some reason, the U.S. still can’t get on board with free public college tuition.

So one could see how a new parent might seriously consider giving up their chance to name their kid for a remote shot at an $11,000 prize. After all, at least the name is “Harland” and not “KFC.” It could be worse.

KFC Wants You to Name Your Child After Colonel Sanders [Restaurant Business]
Name Your Baby Harland [Official]
All Stunts Coverage [E]