Should You Borrow Money For College?

College doesn’t guarantee you anything, especially not a job as soon as you’re finished. However, college is usually a safe bet and it beats doing nothing after high school.

There are not many things that I would recommend doing at 18-22 instead of going to college. If you’re not in school and come to me for advice, then I would suggest trying to start a business, travel the world, or do something else that interests you. I’m not a fan of the idea of sitting around and letting time just pass you by. You don’t have to attend college just because your parents force you to, but if you happen to want to learn a skill or land a decent gig in your 20s, you must get your schooling done.

This leads into the fact that college isn’t cheap and you need to figure out how to pay for your education somehow.

I humbly wrote the only post on student loans that you need to read. I covered every single angle and included thoughts from you guys. Then recently I read a few pieces on student debt and had a few discussions with friends on the topic.

I was reading on CNN Money about how college is still a good idea despite increasing student debt. I found a blurb that totally answers this question:

Should you borrow money for college? 

“Planning a career in fine arts or cosmetology? Keep tuition and loans to a minimum, since the earnings prospects are not great. Heading into engineering or economics? Borrowing more is fine, since the job outlook is good.”

I totally believe that this is the secret for dealing with student debt. Take a freaking major that matters! Don’t go to school because your parents say that you should. Find a program that interests you, ensure that you can find work after school, and then go! Get your education done. Party like a rockstar when you’re in school. Go wild. Do stupid stuff. Just try to finish in four years without borrowing too much money.

There are many ways to crush your student debt. Avoiding college in fear of student debt is a poor decision. You don’t even have to borrow money in the first place.

Assuming that your family can’t help you out, how can you avoid massive student loans?

  • Enrol in a program that offers work terms (good for experience and money!).
  • Apply for free money.
  • Work part-time.
  • Work in the summer.

You don’t have to borrow money. If you borrow money because you don’t want to work and would rather focus your energy on your studies (and the social life) then don’t be afraid to borrow money if you know that you’ll make it back in your field.

I’ve covered this many times in the past. I’ll just leave it at this: you don’t have to get into crazy amounts of debt just to attend college. If you do have to borrow money for college, try to ensure that you’re in a major that leads to MONEY.

You can check out the harsh reality behind student loans for more discussion. Now I want to turn it over to you guys once again.

Should you borrow money for college? What would you do if you went to college all over again?

7 thoughts on “Should You Borrow Money For College?”

  1. If you know where you’re going in life and settle on a major in a growing industry BEFORE you sign up for college, then yes, a student loan can pay off. It would be a last resort for me though and I’d pursue grants and scholarships first.

  2. Justin @ The Family Finances

    I came from a poor family and received a lot of financial aid. I also worked 30 hours a week to help pay for the rest. I wanted a major that would lead to a good job, so I went with accounting. The end result? A four-year accounting degree with minimal ($4,000) loan debt and a job right out of college. I wouldn’t change a thing about how I did it.

    1. Wow that’s pretty impressive Justin. You only picked up $4,000 in debt? 30 hours a week of work is also a lot. How did you pull that off?

  3. So often people talk about College being an investment. While I guess you can make a bad investment, where you get less out than you put in–in saying this most are implying a “good” investment. In that case, I do think that people should be careful with what type of major they are choosing, especially if there is debt that needs to be paid back involved.

    I will graduate with my engineering degree next year, and did it without any debt thanks to choosing a school where my index score was way above and who gave a lot of merit aid. Even with a degree that is “more technical” I am SO glad I did it without debt. The economy isn’t great and no one is guaranteed a job, especially a good one. The relief from not having heavy student loans to pay back is so freeing too.

    While I don’t know if student loans should be avoided at the cost of not attending college, I do think that they should be avoided at most other costs.

  4. Sorry to be a wet blanket here.

    “Party like a rockstar when you’re in school. Go wild. Do stupid stuff. Just try to finish in four years without borrowing too much money.”

    …is not possible. You will NOT be able to finish in four years, without borrowing money, unless you WORK on both your schoolwork and probably a job. Partying, drinking, boozing, hooking up, going wild, and being stupid are one hundred percent incompatible with finishing in a timely manner with good grades and limited debt. Sure, have some fun, but be smart and diligent.

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