Even though the number of students attending college is dropping these days, the ones that go are determined. Whether they receive a scholarship, have money to pay for it, or no money at all, it doesn’t make much of a difference. Most people still go because just about anyone can get a student loan. The question is, what is really being taught with all of this college lending?
Think about this for a moment. At a young age, students learn that they don’t need to save up money for a purchase because they can take out a loan. They figure out that they are able live however they want. Once the loan runs out they can take out another one to cover future expenses. When they finish college, not only do they have a mountain of student loans to pay off, they will have grown accustomed to depending on the loans and living off more than they make. They will have a need to replace those student loans by other means, which will probably be credit cards. Along comes one card, and then another, and another. Before they know it they will be joining the club of over 51 million Americans that own 5 or more credit cards! Do you see how bad this is?
College students need to sit back and realize that while they are going to school they are not going to be able to live the life that their parents live. Driving a nice car, vacationing, and eating out often are not always possibilities when you are going through school. Their parents can live the way they do because they have been working for the past 20-30 years.
Taking out student loans is the normal thing to do. The average college graduate finishes college with student loans of $25,000 - $30,000 dollars. They instantly have that pressure to land that great high paying job, to get rid of the loans. Someone who graduates with no student loans, on the other hand, has more flexibility to consider a wider range of entry-level jobs, even ones with low starting salaries. Without the extra $300 dollar a month payment, you have less pressure to get a higher paying job to cover the extra bills. You would be able to choose the job that you’re really passionate about, and are really going to enjoy.
Get Out Of Jail Free!
There is another scary thought that goes around with the student loan theme. It’s thinking that the government is just going to bail them out of their loans. If you want that you should join the military or other similar indentured servant type options. They are out there and can be very good options. They’re also guaranteed so you can be sure it’s all taken care of. There is no guarantee with the government. We need to remember John F. Kennedy’s famous words, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
The financial life lesson that is learned by not going into debt, and handling money well in college will be more beneficial in life than your degree itself. No matter how much money you earn because of your degree, you will end up losing it all if you don’t know how to handle it well.
Try your hardest to not go into debt for school. With some good thought and preparation college can be taken care of without going into debt. It starts in high school by getting good grades. Spending as much time as possible applying for scholarships. There are thousands of scholarships out there. Sure they take some time to apply for, but the hours spent applying for scholarships will be well worth it in the end.
Consider working while you go through college as well. A college kid that works while going to school paying for it as he goes, even though it may take an extra year or two or three will be much better off than the college kid that goes through in 4 years, and ends up with $30,000 in loans to pay off over the next ten to fifteen years.
I think education is very important for everyone. I realize that not everyone is going to get a full ride scholarship, but I also know that with some determination and a lot of hard work you can go through school without ending up with $30,000 of loans. Let’s change the norm, and quit adding to the one trillion dollars of student loan debt in America.
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be”
I’d love to hear your thoughts. What do you think about all of this?