Each and every year, tuition costs for colleges and universities across North America increase. Students now more than ever are graduating into a life of student loan payments, debt, and economic uncertainty.
Generation Y are more educated than generations prior, and there is a common notion that a degree is now worth what a high school diploma was once worth. We have graduates with degrees working at Starbucks, barely making enough to pay back their loans.
It seems that many students accept student loans as a given; something unavoidable. However, this is not the case. It’s not impossible to graduate without student loans, even if you don’t have any parental help.
I graduated in 2012 with no loans from my degree. It was hard work, and required me to work almost full-time to pay for my tuition and living expenses while I was still going to school. I was lucky to have a flexible job and a flexible school schedule. It took me a little longer to graduate than some of my peers, but it was a decision that I’ll never regret.
Unsure? Here are some great reasons why you should try to graduate without debt:
When you are saddled with debt, you have to make choices based on paying back that debt. You don’t have the freedom to choose to do what you want to do, as opposed to what brings in the most amount of money.
Often, non-profit and private companies cannot afford to pay as much as public organizations, but they offer better working environments and more job satisfaction. Graduating debt free would give you the opportunity to evaluate what type of company you’d rather work for, instead of who can afford you.
Living like a student is fine, when you are a student. It’s necessary to be as frugal as possible, and some would even make the argument that it’s easier to be frugal as a student. However, when you graduate, the last thing you want to do is continue living like a student. You want to be able to use that free income that you are no longer putting toward tuition for things like travel, better food, a nicer apartment.
With student debt, you’re still paying that tuition – just after you’ve already graduated.
Avoid student debt so you can start your adult life after graduation.
Debt is a Waste of Money
Student loans don’t typically incur interest until a period of time post-graduation. Unless you’ve been saving up your money to put a lump sum payment on your loans before they begin incurring interest, you are throwing away your money by taking on student debt.
As mentioned in this post, your money should be working for you, not against you, and paying interest on debt means that it’s working against you.
You Didn’t Go Through School to Be Broke
The purpose of college, for most people, is to gain some marketable and transferrable skills and knowledge to become more employable.
In short, the purpose of college is to increase your earning power.
Going through four (plus) years of schooling shouldn’t leave you broke and living paycheck to paycheck while you pay back loans. It should leave you in a better position than you were pre-post secondary.
It’s not easy to graduate without debt, but it’s definitely doable. Don’t short change your life after graduation; try to pay tuition up front to graduate loan-free.