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Do Your Research Before Taking Out Student Loans

By Bonnie Spain

Graduate looking at money

I am a huge believer in higher education whether it means you will attend a vocational school or a university.  But I am not a believer in taking out as much student loans as you quality for.  Student loans have to be repaid.  Many people underestimate how high student loan payments can be and the effect these loans have on their standard of living after college. 

In the past it was not unusual for individuals considering college to be advised – borrow what you can, you will find a good job when you are finished.  That advice is no longer true and can give a person a false sense of expectation.  Even a college graduate can find it difficult to find a job.   

Before you sign up for college, whether you are a non-traditional or traditional student, you need to do some research.  What fields are you interested in?  How many students with the degree you are looking at actually found jobs?  Upon graduation what can you expect to make in a starter job?  Will there be plenty of jobs available?  Will the jobs be in the area you want to live?  Will you move to find a job?  It is your responsibility to find the answers to these questions. 

The field you choose may dictate whether or not you can work while you go to college.  If you are going for an advanced medical degree you may not be able to work while going to school.  However, if there isn’t any reason you can’t work while going to school you should consider working part-time.  The less school loans you have to borrow the better. 

Once you have researched your field, you need to research vocational schools or universities.  What is the cost of a degree (all fees included) in the field you are interested in?  Will you live on campus or off and what is the cost? The cost of an education can vary widely. 

Student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt.  It is important that you do your research before heading off to college.