New Rules for College Loans: Matching a Career to Debt Repayment/ March 21st, 2011
The reason most students attend college is to secure a job after graduation. The job that college graduates are searching for is one that can help them afford to take care of themselves and allow them to repay any student loans they took out. However, many students that have graduated in the past few years find themselves working but unable to earn enough income to pay back their school debts easily. What is a student entering college now to do? Before starting college, a student needs to account for what career path they envision after they graduate. If they plan to take out student loans to attend college, they must be prepared for repayment. The amount of debt used to complete a degree should relate to a minimum expected income after graduation. It is critical for students to consider this because going heavily into debt to achieve an education without job prospects does not add up. Using student loans of $80,000, $90,000, or $100,000 toward an undergraduate degree is a major financial commitment that requires dedicated planning and preparation. Quite simply, it is a huge amount of money, and will force a student to push back other big-ticket purchases like a house or car if they cannot pay student loans back quickly. The following tips can help a prospective college student figure this out.
- What kind of career do you want? Do you love to work with children and want to be a teacher? Are you interested in chemical engineering? Do you have a passion for film production? Is being a chef a dream occupation for you? These are all great career options that offer a range of salaries. You first need to be aware of what kind of income potential there is for the field you want to enter. Take a look at the average salaries associated with these careers online at Payscale.com or Salary.com. Keep in mind that these are average salaries; you could be making more or less. But at least you have an idea of what is out there.
- What school can help you reach that career goal? Whatever your career goals are, there is a college that can help you achieve them. There are a variety of schools that offer education, skills, development, and support to get you going in the right direction. Figure out which schools can offer you the best education for your career goals.
- Compare costs: When comparing costs for college, you will want to consider financial aid eligibility and how much in loans you would have to take out. Do this by applying for admission to schools you are interested in and comparing the financial aid offered at each school. Then you will know how much in student loans you need to pay the rest of the bill. Multiply that by 4 or 5 years to estimate your total debt when you finish school.
- Compare total debt to income prospects: Use a loan repayment calculator (check out FinAid.org for a student loan calculator) to figure out what your loan will cost you. The rule of thumb is that your student loan debt should not exceed your expected first year income. Financial planners recommend that monthly payments toward debt should be
Don't let debt crush you.no more than 8% to 10% of income in a year. You will be able to make a better decision by considering both your career goals and debt needed for school.