A couple weeks ago I started thinking about returning to school for a second degree this fall. The first issue that came to mind, of course, was how I was going to pay for more education. I was fortunate to graduate with my degree without having to take out loans and having amassed no debt, but there’s no way that would be feasible this time around. So I started doing some research about loans, and found some interesting statistics about the rise in popularity of student loans in the United States.
According to this fascinating article, not only are more college students taking out loans, but they’re also taking out larger loans than ever before. These results aren’t overly surprising if you take into account inflation and the rising cost of college tuition over the past ten years or so, but it’s still a bit surprising to see the sheer amount of people who are putting themselves in some heavy debt to pay for college.
Since I am considering taking out loans, this hits home for me. However, I also feel it’s important to avoid taking out large loans at all costs, even if it means having to make compromises I might not typically want to make. For example, I’ll probably end up living at home for a year or two to avoid having to pay rent on top of tuition. I’ll also likely work a couple jobs to put money toward my schooling, which I was also fortunate enough not to have to do while working for my undergrad.
It’s simple concessions like these that will not be fun at all for the time I have to make them, but will save me a ton of hassle in the long term when I’m not having to pay off gigantic loans. I will still definitely have to take out student loans, but I won’t be placing myself in a position where I’m going to be in debt long after I’ve finished school.
I would be interested to see a follow-up study that shows what sort of similar concessions may or may not be made by these students who are taking out larger loans than ever. Are they taking out large loans because they legitimately need to, or because they haven’t considered alternative ways to reduce the amount they’re borrowing?
I will continue to research the topic of student loans and how much I’ll actually need to take out. Have any of you taken out student loans? If so, did you take any measures to reduce the amount you would have to borrow?