Is It Better to Finish College Faster or Debt-Free?
Paying for college can be a juggling act. It can be difficult to balance how much you borrow against how hard you work and how quickly you can graduate from college. If you're determined to graduate debt-free, it may take you a bit longer to graduate as you can work full-time and take only a few classes per semester.
And if you decide to go to school full time, you can rack up more in student loans since you won't be working full time. Consider the following when deciding whether to graduate from college faster or graduate with less debt.
Work while you attend college
One of your options for graduating from college with less debt is to work full-time and attend school part-time. This schedule may be a good option if you already support a family, although you should consider how much your purchasing power will increase when you graduate.
If you are working, your employer may also offer to reimburse you for tuition for a certain number of credit hours each semester.
In return, you can agree to work for them for a specified number of years after graduation. This exchange between work and school can make school attendance possible for you.
For some, working during school can be a good option. But if you're not making steady progress with your graduation, you can cut your work hours a bit and add a few more teaching hours to your schedule.
Tips for working at the university
- Remember your current financial responsibilities, as well as how much you will need to meet your other financial obligations.
- Make sure you find a job that pays well, which can reduce the amount of time you need to work, while covering your expenses.
- Find alternatives to going to school during the day in order to work. Online options, night school, and classes that run only once a week may be viable options.
- Be sure to take advantage of study groups at your college to help you balance work and school. Tutors and study sessions can help if you're struggling and doing well in school.
Go to school full time and get student loans
Another option is to attend school full time and obtain student loans to cover your expenses and tuition. You can justify this by considering the schedule - if you go to school full-time, you'll graduate faster, so the time you spend paying for tuition, books, and other school-related expenses will be less.
If you decide to get a student loan to go to college, it is important that you think about your career prospects after graduation.
For example, if you are spending tens of thousands of dollars on a technical degree that will earn you $ 10 an hour after graduation, the investment may not be worth it. But if you're participating in a prestigious business program that's likely to earn you six figures after graduation, it might be worth it.
Tips to Minimize Debt
- If you can't work and go to school, try increasing your hours so you can graduate faster.
- Take the time to apply for scholarships and grants to help cover college costs.
- Work to reduce your expenses. Make sure you live as cheaply as possible while in school.
- You may consider living at home to further reduce the cost.
- Consider working multiple jobs over the summer and saving money to reduce the amount you need to borrow each year.
Finding the right balance
Finding the right balance for you is important. Some people have a hard time working and attending college, so to balance things out, they work multiple jobs over the summer and save vigorously to help reduce the amount they need to borrow for school. Other students find they can work part-time and cut hours while taking some classes in the summer to keep them on track toward graduation.
In some semesters, a student can increase their hours while planning a lighter workload during the final semesters. There will not be a single right answer for everyone. Much depends on your course, your expected earnings, and the amount you borrow.
When deciding your situation, you need to make sure you have a tight college budget and that you are working to keep tuition costs low. There is no point in losing the full scholarship to keep a minimum wage job.
Enjoy This Video Tutorial About College Debt
Source: The Ramsey Show - Highlights
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