She is a single mom with over $80,000 in student loans and the interest will keep increasing the debt exponentially over time. My opinion she can't afford to get a liberal arts degree. She needs quick job training for the cheapest price she can get so she can take care of her family and start paying that debt down!
You are right there is nothing wrong with liberal arts, but in America it doesn't usually translate to a decent paying job unless you are lucky or have connections or get a graduate degree in law, medicine, etc. She can't afford to go that route.
Back in the day I explored a degree in international relations with coursework including languages, history and politics, but it was affordable back then and I could pay as I go. But I was at UW-Madison and saw many people who had liberal arts degrees working as taxi drivers, security, and secretaries. Nothing wrong with that, but these jobs don't pay the bills very well and you don't really need a degree to do them. I was already working as a secretary and I wanted a better paying job. I switched to nursing and my income doubled the first year! Ironically my international relations classes have come in handy since I've met so many patients from different cultures,countries, and languages.
I don't regret that time. It was a peaceful and fun time of my life, but I don't think I'd have been able to buy a house and save for retirement with just a liberal arts degree. The last few years, I met many nurses who already had a liberal arts degree and went back to school for nursing to get a decent paying job and ended up with six figure student loans in the process. I'm sure they wish they had done things differently.
Student loans are the worst debt out there, regardless of the so called flexibility of deferment/forbearance, but they don't tell you that can double the debt thru interest capitalization! Also the income based repayment loan forgiveness plans have a 99% rejection rate, where people are told to start the clock over, all the while the debt increases exponentially due to negative amortization! Lastly, there are no bankruptcy protections and they will even garnish your social security if you are in default!
When you realize a student loan is the size of a mortgage and will take decades to pay off, it is really scary because what if you lose your job or get sick or injured and can't pay it back and get behind on it. It only takes 9 months of non-payment to put you in default and they will then tack on a 25% surcharge to rehab the loan. Florida even adds a 3% surcharge to get in on the action! I'm with Dave Ramsey on this pay off your student loans as soon as you can and not count on the student loan forgiveness program. It will give you more peace of mind and help you sleep at night!