Opinion: Tips to Avoid Drowning in Student Debt

For many American students, graduating college and achieving success in a chosen career is their greatest aspiration. But what isn’t talked about much is the debt that is incurred to accomplish this.

Student debt is quickly expanding and is close to $1 trillion, now even surpassing credit card debt. If you’re one of these students who have a huge loan debt, student loan consolidation might be the solution.

But if you’re still in high school, you need to think clearly about what you’re willing to pay for an education.

Much of the problem lies in the fact that students who go on to earn a bachelor’s degree don’t get a job that pays enough, while others do quite well because their job might pay higher. That is perhaps one of the biggest factors students should be thinking of. If you know that your career won’t earn you a high salary you need to be more frugal in the selection of your school. That is, unless they decide to foot your bill. 

The College Board has determine that “failure to complete a degree or certificate program is the most consistent predictor of student loan default,” which points to the second issue for students. Yes, sometimes plans can change but for the most part. As a student, you should be thinking through your career choice in high school.

Engulf yourself with college and career day. Do research and even ask professionals in your field of interest how a work day is for them. This will help you figure out what it is that you truly want to pursue and it will save you from extra loan debt. My hope is that taking these preventative steps is the new norm because it is neglected by students, parents and sometimes even educators that don’t realize the cost of attending college.

Jason Alderman, Senior Director of Visa Inc. wrote on the danger of taking on too much student loan debt by stating recently on Huffington Post “You can't just walk away from student loan debt. It's practically impossible to get it discharged through bankruptcy and there's no statute of limitations on how long lenders can pursue you through collections. Indeed, the government can withhold tax refunds and garnish your wages indefinitely; plus, your credit score will take a huge hit.”

With this in mind, take the preventative steps outlined above to decrease your chances of incurring student debt. It’s better to be safe than sorry especially since the economy hasn’t completely recovered. Not all careers pay the same and not finishing simply is not an option if want to stay out of this mess that we call student loan debt.

Luis Trujillo from My Money For College writes on topics of financial aid and college life. He has also been awarded by Governor Rick Perry and Texas Association of Secondary School Principals for his service to teenagers in Texas.

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