Engineering and economics are generally the least left-wing majors on any college campus. Even math has its Marxists (yes, it’s true), but statics, dynamics, fluids, etc., brook no buffoonery, and economics departments tend to have the second-most non-liberals of the lot.
I agree with Tom 100%. An MIT degree is a wonderful credential to have for life, and he should get one if he can. A newly minted engineering degree will pay off those loans shortly; a guy in his 20s can vow upon graduation to pay them off within a decade and continue living close to the bone as he did in college.
I’ve been giving my daughter this same talk recently. She’s looking at engineering too, and Dad was highly impressed by a joint visit to Columbia. No one ever said, “I wish I didn’t have an MIT degree,” or, “I wish I hadn’t earned my bachelor’s at Columbia.” Again: it’s not just a degree, it’s a ticket to the national elite in a way that Michigan and Berkeley just aren’t. Esteemed professors move from Michigan to MIT, not the other way around.