Student loans: Yay or nay?

Senior year is quickly approaching for the graduating class of 2013.  While pondering about your future, college is a big part. The college you choose is one of the most important decisions you make during your senior year, and could change your life forever. Many topics will present themselves when the time comes, such as what you are going to study, where you are going to live, how comfortable you are with living away from home etc. But, the most difficult portion of the discussion is how much you are willing to spend.

There are grants, scholarships, and help for families available, but that may not even be enough.  Some students may not want to take out loans, and will settle for a less prestigious college even if they are accepted. These students are reducing their academic standards for a college that may cost a little less. Is education not worth the small price you will be paying in the future?

The College Board states that in-state tuition varies around the country, but the average is approximately $9,000 a year.  Out of state can be a little more pricey but not by much; the average out of state tuition is about $12,000 per year. Your first four years of an undergraduate program are the first years away from everything you know.  No longer are you in high school with the help from familiar teachers, friends and family.  But isn’t that what college is all about? College is about growing up, making mistakes, and becoming the responsible and individual adult you’ve been waiting to be. No one can put a price on a once and a lifetime experience like that.

For the students planning on attending graduate school, the average tuition is $25,000 per year, according to College Board.Who has that kind of cash lying around? Not me! Since many of us do not have trust funds or rich parents, we will be forced to apply for loans in order to continue our education. Fortunately, upon graduation, there are several options to repay those loans, such as an income-based payment plan. Information is available on the FAFSA website, which all juniors should be previewing now.

“I am a Harvard graduate.” Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? What do you call a doctor who graduated from University of Utah? A doctor. What do you call a doctor who graduated from Harvard? A doctor.  While both doctors have the same degree, the doctor who graduated from Harvard is simply higher on the totem pole because he decided to attend a school with the global reputation, which happens to be a little more expensive.

Schools like Harvard have reputations based on the grades the students earn and their contribution to society.  People ‘know’ Harvard, but who knows the University of Utah? Your finances in the future are more likely to be higher as a graduated doctor from Harvard, therefore making it easier to pay off your tuition.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Colleges are a representation of their student body. When students surround themselves with other people who want to do well, they tend to care more than they ever would if they went to a junior college. Students who go to universities tend to have more drive and the dedication to do well, rather than the students who live at home and go to community college. Because they are surrounded with competitive people, it makes the students try harder, even if they don’t realize it.

Save the trouble for your parents and apply for scholarships and grants.  The money you do not raise can easily be borrowed from student loan companies.  Most graduates would tell you the college experience you receive is totally worth it.  If your academic level is high enough to get into some of these prestigious colleges, go for it. Also keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with going to the University of Utah if that is your personal dream college, but those who are accepted into schools like Harvard should not say no just based on the money aspect. So, be with people just like yourself; people who care; people who will end up going places.  No matter what the tuition is, the college experience, your future business and the good reputation is all worth it.