When I think back to my university days, it seems so long ago. Who knew the decisions I made then about my finances would continue to impact me today.
I have compiled a short list of what I learned from having student loans.
If you have to take out a larger student loan to complete an undergraduate degree outside of your hometown, it’s probably a bad idea. I understand that some students would like to go to a school outside of their city because it’s well known for the program they want to take. Others may just want to leave the nest egg. However, in most cases the added debt needed to finance this decision exceeds the economic benefit they actually get once their out of school. Unless it is a professional designation or master’s degree, it is advisable to attend school in your hometown and save some money.
Scholarships and bursaries are highly funded, but rarely used up. Many scholarships and bursaries go unused year after year as students line up for government loans. I was one of those students. Looking back, I could have made an effort to apply for scholarships and bursaries. It requires some time and effort but it is well worth it. Many scholarships and bursaries are not based on academic achievement, but financial need.
It will follow you long after you graduate; if you let it. Anybody can stumble into debt, but no one can stumble out of debt (Dave Ramsey). Depending on the size of your student loan debt and how quickly you pay down the loan after graduation it can change the direction of your financial future. For many, it will determine: when they can but a house, retirement, have kids’ etc.
It’s not the only way to get a decent education. I admit, tuition fees are increasing year after year. It’s scary to think what the fees would be like 10-15 years from now. With that being said, getting approved for student loans has become so easy that many people (including myself), have failed to consider other alternative options. For example, Sweden offers free post-secondary education, all that must be paid is for living expenses.
You are not defined by your student loan debt. For those that have already amassed a good chunk of student loan debt, don’t despair. Contrary to what society would like to tell us, I do not believe we are defined by our ‘net worth’ but our ‘self-worth’. Having said that, it’s important to wrap your head around your debt mess and do something about it. Many times we give ourselves excuses for not getting rid of our student debt. As long as you see hope in getting rid of your student debt, you are half way there.
Tags: Budgeting, bursaries, dealing with debt, Debt, drawning in debt, finances, graduating with student debt, net worth, ovewhelmed by debt, scholarships, self worth, student debt, student loan, what to know about student loans