This week, news regarding financial aid and paying for college has really focused on student debt — both how to avoid and how it’s not really a good thing to have too much of it. We’ve banged the drum about avoiding debt whenever possible but also understand that it’s at best difficult not to go to college and incur at least some student loan debt.
In fact, one of the best ways to maximize the value of your education is to not borrow more than you absolutely need to. Savings, scholarships, grants, credit by examination, income from a job – all of these things should be used toward college before you borrow money to attend school. Especially for an undergraduate student just starting his or her career. Those first few years out of school will likely be the lowest income earning years of your career. They will also have the unpleasant distinction of being the years during which the largest percentage of your salary is going toward the payment of your student loan interest.
This can be particularly crippling from an opportunity cost perspective because those early years are the years during which you will see the most return on the dollars you’re saving. So, the more dollars you can invest and save instead of paying toward student loan interest, the better off you will be in the long run. You may live somewhat more meagerly than you like during your four or so years of college, but nor having that debt follow you around for another ten or even twenty years down the road will allow you to enjoy far more stress-free years than your peers.
So, after all is said and done, is it worth it to go to college and to borrow money to do so? The answer, ultimately, is up to you. If you feel fulfilled and happy and don’t mind the loan payments, then who is anyone else to judge? But, if scraping by for 10 years after scraping by for four years of school doesn’t sound like the self-actualization you were looking for, then choose a degree that you can earn a good living from and keep your school borrowing as low as possible.
Hopefully the following articles will give you something to think about over the summer as you think about paying your tuition in the fall.
An in-debt education from
Many students rode out the recession in college, getting additional degrees to improve job prospects. But now, says SOU Financial Aid Director Peggy Mezger, students are being encouraged to wrap up their bachelor’s degree in four years and avoid …
College helping students tackle debt from
It’s about smart borrowing and about awareness early on the moment students walk on our campus. It involves not just the financial aid office but many other student offices on campus which is really critical. It’s not just one area, it takes a whole …
Paying It Forward: Student Debt at GS from
Read on forthe final installment of managing editor Anna Bahr’s three-part series on the student debt at Columbia. This last part looks at General Studies. To review the first two pieces, which examinestudent loans in CC/SEAS and financial aid for …
Florida Higher Education: Fix Financial Aid from
It equates to about $93 a year more for a student taking 30 credit hours. It seems like a … If the governor is seriously concerned about college affordability, he’ll pay as much attention to fixingfinancial aid as he has opposing tuition hikes …