A great open letter from Collin Hansen to next year’s crop of college students on the dangers of student loans. An excerpt:
I should warn you, however: Someone has to pay, and college isn’t getting any cheaper. Your parents have probably pointed this out a time or two. (Go easy on them. The recession took a big bite out of their retirement accounts, and a year or two of private college tuition and board probably costs about what they paid for the house you grew up in.) Friends, guidance counselors, and admissions officers can surely point you to the various payment options. If you’ve studied hard enough to make it into one of those $5-billion-dollar-endowment schools, you might qualify for the best aid of all: need-based grants. No matter where you attend, sign up for work-study and fit at least 10 hours into your schedule. (Hint: Find a job like mine working in a quiet section of the library where you can also study.) When you’ve exhausted every other method of paying for your education (including scholarships: you’d be surprised by how many of your peers never bother to even fill out the forms), then we can finally talk about the main reason I’m writing you today: student loans.
Read the whole thing. I’d also point out that some should explore others options–the world still needs good electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. In God’s eyes, there is no indignity in these trades. Lastly, preparation before college is often the best predictor of success.