Student loan debt is a significant issue. Many high school students are receiving their diplomas and heading off to college.
How will they cover the costs? Based on statistics, a significant number will use debt.
Why? It is not purely a function of costs. Sometimes, students believe some lines of thought that result in significant student loan debt.
If you are a student, try to avoid these lines of thought:
- Attending a costly school will get me a better job. Higher tuition does not always equate to higher salaries. Employers do not look at the amount you paid to get a college degree. They just look at your degree. This is especially true after your first job. After your first job, where you went to school starts to take a back seat to your prior work experience. Find a school that makes financial sense for you.
- I need the “college experience.” Certainly, there is nothing wrong with enjoying your time in college, especially if it works with your finances. But more and more students are realizing that having the “college experience” is not worth having the college debt. Instead of attending social after social, they are getting jobs to help offset their tuition costs. They are working hard to make sure they are not still paying for their education ten years after graduation.
- It is ok to stretch out college. Certainly, there is some leniency here, but be very careful when choosing to stretch out your degree program. Two things can happen. First, you tend to end up paying more. This is especially true if you find yourself unable to pay for living expenses. Second, you run a greater risk of not completing your degree. And don’t take throwaway classes. Make your investment worth it. Finish your degree in a timely manner.
- I don’t need to know what I am signing. You should educate yourself on student loans. Before you sign any papers, understand what you are committing to. Know what it will take to pay off the loan. Also, know how it compares to other alternatives. You will need to understand your loan when you’re paying it off, so you better understand it prior to signing the agreement.
- Everything will take care of itself. Student loans don’t just go away. They even survive bankruptcy. I’m less concerned with the student who feels burdened by their loans than the one who feels no burden from their debt. Student loans are a debt to be repaid and students need to view them as such.
- There is no other option. Without question, the cost of higher education presents a formidable challenge for many current and future college students. But this does not mean there are no other options. Change often necessitates additional change. A change in the cost of college may require you to reconsider what going to college looks like. It is very likely that your college experience will not look like your parents’ college experience.