As the amount of student loan debt surges with each passing day, more and more people are beginning to question whether or not borrowing money from the government for the sake of attending college is truly worth it. The economy and job market are
; more and more young people are opting to find employment within the gig economy as freelancers and independent contractors. Others, however, are still deciding to take out student loans for the sake of pursuing a higher education.
Student Loans are Not Free Money
There are a shocking amount of young people who truly lack an understanding of
the nature of student loans
. Individuals who borrow money from the government will, in fact, have to pay it back. Usually, recipients of student loans will have to make monthly payments; although the specific dollar amount depends upon a variety of factors, with one of the main ones being how much money was borrowed in the first place. Countless young adults make the mistake of borrowing much more than they actually need.
People who are considering taking out loans should also be aware that they may not be able to pay them back very quickly. Months, years, or even decades can pass by before borrowers are truly debt-free. This can be quite daunting to the young, ambitious 22-year-old who wants to enter the workforce and make a name for themselves. Likewise, such high amounts of debt can ruin opportunities which would otherwise be available to individuals who do not owe thousands of dollars to the government.
There are Other Ways to Pay for College
Believe it or not, taking out student loans is not the only way for young people to fund their college careers. Academic scholarships, military service, university employment, and even working for certain companies are potential avenues for covering the costs of university. Granted, the aforementioned alternatives generally come with certain stipulations, although many people would argue that the stipulations are better than the crippling debt which often accompanies student loans.
Furthermore, students who maintain good grades throughout their time in high school are likelier to have more opportunities for academic scholarships. Parents should encourage their children to do well during their high school careers so that they have options for college which extend beyond taking out student loans.
College is Not for Everyone
While many people attend college and go on to live comfortable, middle-class lives, college is definitely not for everyone. One of the gravest mistakes in today's education system is failing to educate students about all the options which are available to them after high school. So often, young people are automatically indoctrinated into believing that attending university is their only choice.
Another common malpractice is telling students that they will be statistically poorer than individuals who choose to go to college. Considering the variety of options which exist post-high school (such as freelancing, trade school, independent contract work, entrepreneurship, etc), educators who fail to inform students of the other paths they can take besides college are doing students a disservice.
A Final Word
At the end of the day, each individual has to decide whether or not borrowing student loans is the best choice for them. Sometimes it works out well, but other times it doesn't. Regardless of the decision which someone ultimately makes, there is never any harm in having complete information and an awareness of the alternatives and potential consequences.
Authored by Gabrielle Renee Seunagal