“I can’t believe I didn’t get full shifts this pay period.”
This is what my buddy Joe at my part-time job stressed to me the other day. Joe is always stressing about his shifts and complaining about the lack of hours. I’m not rude, but when asked for feedback I don’t hold back. I suggested to Joe that he went back to school to upgrade his skills and move himself into a new field. This certainly beats complaining about hours.
“I don’t have the money for college.” That’s how Joe responded. Now I realize that college can be expensive and not everyone has the money for this. However, I know that Joe lives with his family and he could easily get his act together.
Being in debt until your mid-30s because of college isn’t the ideal situation. Working at a job that you hate because you didn’t attend college is even worse in my opinion.
When are student loans not such a bad idea?
When the program offers work terms.
Does the program you’re applying to offer work terms? My cousin Matt took a program where after his second year, he would work one semester and then study the next. Essentially, he got lots of work experience, got paid, and was able to pay off the initial money that he borrowed to pay for college.
There are jobs in your field.
If you’re guaranteed a job or can easily find work after college, then what do you have to lose? This certainly beats being stuck in a job that you can’t stand. Borrowing the money upfront will be a pain in the neck. The good news is that you find a brand new job after college and find yourself in a much better situation.
You have a connection in the field.
If you have connections in the field you want to get into, this ties into the previous point. If you’re either certain that you can find work due to demand in the field or because you have connections, it makes sense to apply for student loans to get your education.
You might be in debt, but at least you can find work to deal with this debt. The debt part sucks and I wouldn’t recommend it, but switching into a higher paying career will pay dividends for the rest of your life.
When you absolutely need money.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. I would be a hypocrite if I sat here and told you that you need to work full-time in college. This just isn’t realistic for everyone. Some of us have health issues. Others want to enrol in a challenging major that requires 100% commitment. Others just don’t have the energy.
If you absolutely need the money, don’t be afraid to apply for student loans. The loans are not evil and will not ruin your life. Just try to limit how much money you apply for.
While I worked my butt off to ensure that I didn’t have any student debt to deal with, I don’t think that it’s all that bad to apply for student loans. My final point is that you shouldn’t be held back from attending college and getting your dream job. I don’t want to hear that money held you back from a quality education. The only thing stopping you is YOU.