Are College Loans Worth It?

The cost of completing a college degree these days is shamefully more than the cost of an average American’s Home Mortgage. Before every academic year, the boards and management committees of universities around the nation increase the tuition rate by about 1% to 5%. Just recently, UCLA students took to the streets to protest a decision of increasing their college tuition by 5% each year, for the next 5 years. I do not blame them at all. These students have every right to do so. The average American college graduate is now graduating with an average loan of $26,000. For students who choose to go to med or law school, this figure may increase by more than 100%. And can we even dare discuss the job market, including of once envied careers such as Law? Crickets. The big problem here is that the job market is heavily saturated right now and it is becoming increasingly difficult for young graduates to find jobs, especially if they majored in most liberal arts degrees. So what do you do when your starting salary right out of college is $30,000 a year but you have an $85,000 college loan? The truth is that more than ever, parents need to be very strict about their children’s academic choices. Gone are the days whereby students only went to college to pursue their passion. Passion is great, but will it pay your bills? The same kids you escorted to college, will be coming back to live at your basement for a couple of more years if you do not assume your parenting role and deny funding their poor choices. In fact, an alarming number of American Students usually go back to live with their parents after graduation because they cannot simply afford to pay their monthly rates and pay for their personal expenses. One has to carefully evaluate the financial returns of their academic choices. I strongly believe that students should obtain loans only if very necessary. Below are a few pointers of determining whether investing in college loans is a good idea NYC ASIAN ESCORT.

1) Getting a loan of $80,000 to pursue a degree in History or other liberal arts degrees is simply not smart. On the other hand, getting the same amount of loan for a pharmacy or an engineering degree may be a good investment because the financial returns of graduates is pretty high. STEM degree graduates generally have more career opportunities and higher starting salaries than other fields. Non STEM fields such as Accounting or Business may also be financially rewarding in some cases. Students who graduate with liberal arts degrees such as Sociology usually find that they will need a higher degree to even be considered for entry-level jobs, thus accumulating more debt. You may end up with huge loans which usually take years to be paid off. Choose wisely.

2) Major in something you love but which will also make you a living and minor in your passion. I love singing and dancing but I certainly would never major in any of those fields. I certainly know that graduating with a dance degree may have had me waiting tables because to be honest, how many jobs do dancing majors actually have? Loving something may not be a justifiable reason to major in it. The job market is very ruthless and many graduates are finding themselves working in jobs which require only a high school degree. Thinking about it, the greatest singers, actors, journalists, authors and designers never really went to school to study their fields. They worked at perfecting their talents and seeking opportunities. If you want to follow your non marketable passion, use your extra classes or enroll at your local community college and take a few courses. If possible, double major. For instance, a music major can choose to double major with business or accounting, which may increase their marketability in the job market.

3) For some families, a college education is simply expensive and almost unattainable without loans and I completely understand that. I paid my way through school so I had to figure out the cheapest route for me to finish my education. Go to a community college for the first 2 years or 60 credits as it is much cheaper than a 4 year institution. I understand that many students want to go to college for the experience. Live in dorms, sororities, party, make friends and all that, which is good but if life does not afford you this luxury, just accept it and adjust accordingly. I envied my friends who went to 4 year colleges and even graduated a year or two before me, but I certainly don’t envy them now. Most of them are soaked in huge college loans and some have even gone back to school after realizing there are no jobs in their given fields. After community college, I went to a state school which is relatively much cheaper than a private college, while still working full-time and paying for my degree. This enabled me to graduate completely debt free. It has taken me 6 years but looking back, I certainly have no regrets. Most college kids look down at community colleges and other state schools which is quite unfortunate. Encourage your kids to be open to the idea.

4) It may be a noble idea to let your kids work for one or two years before enrolling in college. Who really knows what to do with their lives at only 17 or 18? Exposure and career counseling are very critical in ensuring that college graduates make the right decisions. To a normal teenager, majoring in East Asian Studies sounds like a cool idea. They are probably dreaming of walking in the streets of Guangzhou, China, dining across fine restaurants in Asia and touring the world after graduation. They may be in for a rude shock when recruiters do not even bother to browse through their qualifications after seeing a ‘Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies’ in their resume. Is it saying that these degrees are useless? Absolutely not, but if you can find the same information in the internet for free, then I would rather save the extra dollars and study for an actual career. It is pretty sad that we no longer live in the era of getting a decent job as long as you have a college degree.

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