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]