Can you be a student without a loan?
By Keith Bunn Jr.
When did it happen? Can someone please tell me? When did it become normal that if you wanted to go to college, the only way you could go was by getting student loans to pay for it? When did that happen?
Way back in the day, if you wanted to go to college and your mom and dad couldn’t afford to pay for it, you were expected to work to earn the money to pay for it. But not today, today students’ sign up for student loans, with no money to their name, thinking that after college they will get great jobs and make lots of money to pay them off. The truth is, it just doesn’t work that way. According to The Wall Street Journal, student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt by over $3 billion. Life doesn’t always pan out the way we plan and we don’t get a high paying job to pay for those loans. On top of that, students that graduate college not only have tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, but they have thousands of dollars in credit card debt also. It can be very overwhelming and stressful to the young adult who is now being harassed by collectors wanting the money for the loans and credit cards and they don’t know how to handle money. Based on the documentary Maxed Out , the stress was so great for two students, that they took their own lives.
Let’s face it, going to college for most of the kids today is really the first time they have been on their own and it’s sad to say that most kids today have no idea what the adult world is really like. Most of them are accustom to the lifestyle they grew up with, while having no clue as to how much it costs to maintain that level of lifestyle. Some are unwilling to down grade their lifestyle, so they use their student loans on everything else but for their education. Sallie Mae reported, that 92% of undergraduates charged books, supplies or other direct education expenses on credit cards and 1/3 of the students put their tuition on credit cards. And they don’t mind doing that because the average teen today thinks they will be making $145,000. per year after graduation based on other studies.
The truth of the matter is this; life doesn’t always go according to plan. I have heard too many times where someone has a bunch of student loan debt and didn’t pass their bar exam to become a lawyer, didn’t pass the exams to become a doctor, has a medical condition now or has been in some sort of accident and they can’t work in their educated field anymore, or now has children and wants to be a stay at home mom. On top of that, student loans are not bankrupt able, and just like the IRS, they don’t have to sue you to garnish your wages or put liens on your property.
Student loans are not only dumb but are unnecessary. According to Zac Bissonnete’s book, Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off My Parents, if a student works just 20 hours a week while going to college, they can make enough money to pay for in state college. Also, the same study showed that those students that worked to pay for college instead of just getting a bunch of loans, got higher GPA because they were either working or studying and didn’t have time for partying.
You can also get grants and scholarships. Those are a little more time consuming to get and you may get a lot of rejections, but in the end they are well worth it. In fact, there are millions of dollars in scholarships every year that don’t get used because no one tries to get them.
And finally, choose a college you can afford. There is absolutely nothing wrong with community colleges. I know some of you out there have your eye on a specific college for whatever reason, but consider this; a friend of mine went to college after high school. He started at a community college, and then bounced around from school to school, all the while transferring his credits as he went, till finally, he ended up and graduated from University of Michigan. Now he only has one diploma. It doesn’t list all the schools he went to, it says that he graduated from U of M. It may have been a pain to do all that transferring, but in the end, he saved a lot of money. And let me ask you this, when was the last time you went to see a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant, or any other profession that has to have some sort of degree and asked them where they went to college? You haven’t! Degrees don’t have any value. The knowledge you get while getting that degree does.
“It doesn't matter where you've been, it only matters where you are going.” - Brian Tracy –
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