Kids Need to Take Out Student Loans Themselves in 2018
During my senior year of high school, I paid little or no attention to the cost of higher education. It had been a foregone conclusion since my childhood that I would go to college. Yet, somehow I was never expected to consider the cost of attendance. “I could pay off student loans with my high paying job that I would surely get with a college degree.” ~ Or so I was told.
My parents were kind enough to do me the “favor” of handling my student loans for me. As a result I graduated high school with no idea what a FAFSA was, no plan to pursue scholarships or grants, and zero pressure to factor in cost of tuition when choosing a university.
My lack of financial responsibility lead me to the financial dumpster fire I find myself in today. I have more than $80,000 in student loan debt, $900 in monthly payments, and 5 more months of deferment until payments begin. I wrote this blog post to prevent the next generation (my sisters) from getting themselves into the same mess. Here’s the simple explanation for why kids today need to take out student loans for themselves.
Can you ignore student loans until after school?
“I could easily pay off my student loans after college, right?”Allow me to explain why that mindset is complete and utter bullshit. The average student loan debt per person is around $37,000! Unfortunately, that number factors in the students that only need to take out very small amounts of student loans to finance their education. We see plenty of students with loan debt in the range of $60,000 to $80,000. That much debt can be crippling and learning to handle it in later stages can be even worse.
Most recent graduates in PA can expect a job that pays around $50,000 per year. That’s a take home-salary of around $3,000/month (after deductions like federal, fica, medicare, state, and retirement). After spending roughly $250 on groceries, $750 on rent and another $500 on miscellaneous living expenses, spending money rests around $1500 per month.
Now deduct $500 to $900 in student loan payments from that monthly take-home salary and four years of “rigorous” academic study seems like it has done more harm than good. Saving for the big stuff like buying your first car, building your first home, and starting a family are being pushed back into the far too distant future.
Dream big and do what makes you happy. — Just kidding, take the first job you find while crossing your fingers for some semblance of financial stability.
Avoid Student Loan Catastrophe
Tell your kids to start handling their own finances as soon as possible. Do not be the crux that takes out student loans last minute for them. If high school students cannot handle taking out their own loans, they may not be ready to attend college yet. And that’s okay. Take the time to figure out what you would like to do with the rest of your life. Learn the value of a dollar before taking on massive debt.
I wish I had my current understanding of debt while I was still in high school. I would have tried every way imaginable to reduce my debt during college. Allowing my loans to accumulate interest all this time has been huge opportunity wasted to attack my loan principle.
I could have been applying for every scholarship and grant possible, working part time instead of participating in student organizations, and attending community college to satisfy my general education requirements at a reduced rate. I admit that not taking responsibility sooner was my own doing. But let’s face it, most kids in high school tend to take the easy route when given options. Especially when they don’t yet understand the significance of their actions.
Do not let your future students do the same. The cost is much too great to leave to the entitlement/handle it later mentality. Paying for college is a huge, life altering decision, and unfortunately one that most high schoolers are not ready to make.
Student Loan Resources
Once you understand your loans, it’s time to get creative. Join the online community that chooses crowdfunding based on achievement as the new way to tackle the student loan debt epidemic. SponsrU is a social platform where family, friends, employers, philanthropists (you name it!) can donate directly toward any student’s loan debt. In exchange, Sponsors receive regular updates on their students academic and career achievement. Join the SponsrU community today to start changing the way we think about student loan debt.