September 21, 2010

Funding your education without loans is easy.....

There was an article released yesterday (click here to read the article) stating that credit card debt has been surpassed by student loans.  Everyday it seems as if the necessity of going to college to meet the skill demand for tomorrow's jobs has been rivaled with the necessity of scholarships, grants, and loans required to be able to afford the cost of tuition.  Some students are lucky enough to find jobs within their college towns, to assist with their living expenses . ..while others simply have to find other means of covering their living expenses.

But the reason for this article is that it is considered the norm to take out loans for a college education because most people are trying to finish their degrees "on-time" in 4yrs, 6yrs, or 8yrs depending on their discipline.  And the cost to finish "on-time" is normally more than what most people can afford - which is why loans are used to fill this gap.

But there is another way....why do we HAVE to finish a "four"year degree in four years? Is there any reason why we need to do so?  Because I'm willing to bet that a student, who goes against the norm, could attend college without any student loans, and without any help from their parents.  Here's my plan for those students attending college in the near future that do not want to be faced with the pressure of repaying loans like most Americans :

- Students should attend a two-year community college (which is dirt cheap) by using grants, scholarships, and also working part-time if necessary to fund their living expenses, books, etc.

- After passing community college, enroll in a four year, in-state, public university, while using grants, scholarships, and working part time.

Of course, the goal is to finish the community college in two years and finish up your degree at the University in two years, which would give you four years total for your education.  BUT - if you can't afford to finish in four years - then stay a little longer while working and pay as you go!  So what if it takes you an additional two years to finish?  You'll have a better standard of living than most of your peers that struggle to pay off their loans and have to find a job that offers a decent salary to cover those loans.  If there's a recession or a downturn in hiring (like the one we're currently in), you won't feel the pinch as much as your friends will.  They'll be forced to accept almost any working condition because they have the pain and stress of debt collectors harassing them if they don't.