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Are Heavy Student Loans Worth a "Good" Education?

One of the colleges I have been accepted to is a good school but did not give out good financial aid. How do I weigh the options and figure out when I should look at a different college? #choosing-a-college #financial-aid

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Joe’s Answer

Your success will depend much more on your personal skills and your drive than what school you went to. When one goes to the dentist they don't often check what school they went to, but rather they seek out what the word-of-mouth reputation of the dentist has been.

Many students end up financially burdened by their loans for years, especially if they cannot get a well-paying career in the field they went to study in the first place.

Joe recommends the following next steps:

Do your best to get a clear heading of what career you have a good passion and gifting for to set yourself up for success.
Get your general education requirements out of the way at a community college. What you do in your studies and during-college employment can help you get through well and also show to future employers that you are willing to do the hard work when needed.
If your career training is only available at a very expensive school make sure that career will be a good fit by doing some follow-along with people in that profession. See if you can get an internship, even if it is bottom-rung work in that field. Then see if you can set up an arrangement to have that business help fund your education by agreeing to work for them for X years after you finish your degree. You can do this without putting your finances in a bottomless pit.

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Glenn S.’s Answer

That is a tough question. If you want to do the math, you need to look at what you would expect to be paid when you graduate and how much debt you expect to have. If you are entering a highly sought after technical degree in engineering, it may be worth the cost. Better schools get you better job opportunities. If you are going into teaching, the pay is low, but sometimes you can get support in paying off the loans from the school. Sounds like you are smart enough to think this through, so do your homework.

Glenn S. recommends the following next steps:

Your school is not the only place to find financial aid. Check with your guidance counselor and apply for everything possible. There is a lot of scholarships that go unclaimed each year because no one applies. The title does not mean it is a requirement, read the description.
Look for data on what someone with your degree makes when they graduate. The universities have this information.
Look at how much debt you think you will have at graduation. I am not a financial planner, but I would think that you would not want to pay more than 10% of your net income, so that would be 7% on the salary before taxes.
You can also look at doing your first 2 years in a community college and then switch to a 4 year college to keep cost down.

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Sherri’s Answer

Hi, I totally understand your concerns, I would look at it as an investment in yourself. Look at what your future earnings will be, estimate how much your payments on your student loans will be. The government also offers a variety of repayment plans, you can go to https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans : this will give you valuable information on the different repayment plans.

Best Wishes,