Most college students don’t ever consider how much money they’re actually borrowing to pay for school. They don’t have the money to pay cash semester by semester, and instead casually borrow money through Stafford loans. They never take the time to consider what sort of payment they’re going to be faced with and how much money they’re borrowing. Instead they see it as just a way to get by until they graduate. Some students even use student loan money to pay for things such as computers, their apartment, and food while they’re in college. Six months after graduation they get broadsided by a letter informing them that they have to start making some rather hefty student loan payments, for the next decade. Don’t let this happen to you!
Student loans are a seeming inevitability for some students because of the sheer cost of a college education. Many students believe that there’s no way to make it through college without getting student loans, so why bother trying? They borrow what they have to pay for their tuition bills, and often some more after that. They have wants and no way to fulfill them, until they figure out that they can borrow extra money on their student loans to pay for a new computer, a new car, their apartment, food, and entertainment. It’s not uncommon for students to take out $1,000 or $2,000 extra a semester just to pay for life while they’re in college.
Recently my ex-roommate Jeff recently decided to take out $1,600 extra this semester to buy a new computer because the one that he has is three years old, even though it works just fine! He’s going to be paying that thing off over a period of twenty years and easily end up paying twice in interest what the computer cost him. Sadly, this is not an uncommon experience for many college students.
If you’re in college, you’ll probably end up with some student loans. This doesn’t mean you have to take out all of the money they’ll give you and then some. You should be working at least 10 or 15 hours a week during school to offset some of the costs of college and living. There’s no excuse not to. People who complain that they have to focus on their studying and don’t have time for a job are either lying or horrendous at time management. By working a bit here and there and applying for scholarships while you’re in school, you can easily minimize your student loans to a manageable level.
You might end up with $15,000 in student loans, but at least you won’t have $25,000 or $30,000 in student loans when you graduate. It might hurt a bit more now, but when graduation day comes around, it’ll be totally worth it.