College Students:Don’t limit dreams with debt, is the title of a recent article by the Christian Science Monitor. The article discusses the potential risks of accumulating too much debt to pay for college. However, the article begs the question of how much debt it too much.
According to the Project on Student Debt, the average debt of a student graduating in 2006 was approximately $21,100. In my opinion, graduating with a student debt of about $20,000 is manageable for most college graduates. The higher the debt over that level, the more difficult it is for the typical graduate to be able to afford the debt and still have enough money for other expenses like food and rent. There are several websites where you can find the average debt of graduating seniors at a particular college including the College Board and UCAN. Remember, however, in looking at these numbers that they are averages and that some students at those colleges incur substantially more debt than the average. They often rely on things like the 6 month payday loan and other similar arrangements. VSO representatives worry that doing away with public service loan forgiveness could steer veterans and their family members away from the military and nonprofit work they may otherwise have considered to have the question, can you have student loans forgiven for government employees?
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If it appears that your college choice will require you to incur substantially more than $20,000, you need to have a serious conversation with some one who understands what things cost in the real world. Maybe your parents? You may need to consider other college options to make sure that you can actually afford to go to college. As I have said on many occasions, it is critical that anyone going to college, and their parents, understand how college financial aid works. Only then can you make the right choice that you can afford.