Great comments! I would have posted sooner, but I was busy with, ahem, preparing for the fall semester.
Gary, in my case, since I'm 40+, it's worth pointing out Watchtower's attitude about college 25 years ago as I was growing up. I was in a congregation that had already been around for decades. the Awake! of May 22, 1969, p. 15 nicely sums up my home congregation's attitude. She should read it for herself and tell us that our parents were fools for believing what was published. Your wife would probably dismiss this as hearsay, but when I went to the "Bethel Meeting" at the DC after my first year at community college, I was told that I needed to reread what the society warned about college, and that I wouldn't be appointed an MS, and that my dad's qualifications as an elder would be called into question. After I dropped out, and later went to Bethel, I was certainly surprised to see the college graduates in the various departments there. I learned that they hate you if you go to college, but they love you after you graduate.
But about the questions:
"Then I went on to point out how the Society discourages college and how so many witnesses in the rank and file wind up struggling because they end up following the slave's advice. My wife counters with, "Well these people who insist that they have to go to college because they are 'struggling,' are they struggling because they do not simplify their lives? Are they struggling because they want the biggest house or want to live an extravagent lifestyle?" I told her I would put this question to you and to others who find themselves trying to better themselves at college after following the slave's advice for so long."
Nobody that knows me would need to ask those questions. I'm living with family. I have no health insurance. My car is over 10 years old. How can I "simplify"? Is wearing clothing, eating food, and living indoors "an extravagent lifestyle?" I have no illusions of ever owning a big house or living large. I've done the research. If I get a bachelors degree, I'll have plenty of job opportunities with job security, benefits, and a good wage. If I continue the way I have been working, I will have no job security, low wages, my health will be shot in a few years, and I'll need to take a steady dose of anti-depressants.
The other usual charge is, "you're too picky in your jobs, you need to be like Br. [insert name] who is content with work in manual labor at a lower wage." How long am I supposed to survive when I'm competing with young Mexicans for these jobs? Since we're not supposed to miss any meetings, I'm expected to refuse many opportunities. And we already have plenty in the congregations that are fighting with one another for construction and cleaning jobs. The other "skills" I learned in Bethel don't exist in the outside world.
I won't go into specifics, your wife probably wouldn't believe it anyway, but I was "encouraged" to leave because of health problems. I had over 15 years in full-time service, I had avoided higher education, career, marriage, and fatherhood in order to be of greater use to "God's organization". I got used. Then I got booted because they were afraid I would be "a problem". I had one episode in Bethel and it recurred once after I got booted, because I couldn't afford the medication. Now I hope I have it managed, but Watchtower Corporation has been no help. Talk about getting the "keep warm and well-fed" treatment from people. Fortunately, "Satan's system" has been very helpful with care, support, and encouragement that I never got from "God's organization".