College Loans and Debt – 3 Things to Consider
Education is a door to opportunity, and college loans have opened these career opportunities for many students who would otherwise be unable to afford higher education. But unlike grants and scholarships, college loans are a debt that must eventually be paid back. Here are a few things to consider before taking out a college loan.
Freedom and Flexibility
If you’re considering a more expensive university that will require more loans, it’s good to ask yourself how much you care about flexibility and freedom in your career. With a big loan hanging around your neck, your options will be limited.
For example, if you’re able to avoid a big loan, you open unique opportunities for yourself, like traveling the world, starting your own company, working fewer hours, or taking a lower-paying job that you love.
If you’re weighed down by big loan payments, there’s more pressure to find the highest-paying job you can find and stick with it—even if you don’t find it fulfilling.
It’s a proven fact that loans can often be a source of stress. This 2019 study revealed that 64% of the responders felt at least some stress because of student loans, while 45% felt a lot of stress.
Student debt can also have major effects on your personal life. In this study, 26% of respondents said they had delayed having kids because of student debt. This study even revealed a correlation between student debt and mental health issues. Yikes!
It may still be beneficial to take out a student loan, but it’s good to know that debt is a significant cause of stress in our society.
Debt and Earning Power
The average student loan debt reached $32,731 in 2020. That number might seem very manageable if you’re a civil engineer, making an average salary of over $94,000. If you’re a preschool teacher making less than $35,000, those loan repayments will be a lot tougher to stomach.
As you consider your college debt burden from student loans, make sure to take into account your college and major choice, and the chance that it might take a while for you to find a job.