According to a recent article by MSN Money, college graduates are leaving school with an average student loan debt of $24,000. Student loan debt has been the subject of much debate, forcing college students to examine the real cost of education. While traditionally student loan debt has been seen as “good” debt, we have to wonder if this opinion will change as students continue to rack up large sums. While loans may be the only option for some to attend an institute of higher learning, it is true that many students could avoid student loan debt by pursuing other options.
During my time in school I have heard some interesting reasons for taking out student loans. Here are the top 5 worst reasons I have heard for taking out student loans:
1. Spring Break vacations. I have heard countless stories of college students taking out small loans to cover the cost of a cruise because they couldn’t afford it on their own. These individuals used the “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity excuse as a reason to justify the expense, but it seems that such a temporary experience is not worth putting yourself in debt.
2. Pay off credit card debt. Somehow I have a feeling that this never works out quite as planned. There are many alternatives to paying down credit card bills that don’t put you farther in debt.
3. I want a new outfit, shoes, watch, etc. We have all experienced that feeling that we “need” to have a certain item and just can’t wait to get it. Rather than saving or finding a way to earn extra income for this purchase, some individuals took out student loans just as if they were going to the ATM.
4. Christmas presents. I am pretty sure that most family and friends would enjoy the novelty of homemade gifts over leaving their children/friends in debt over Christmas due to the cost of presents. If not, it is time to find new friends.
5. Living expenses. I had several friends who used student loans to cover living expenses while in school. While this practice in itself may not be bad, living above your means with student loans is. Minimizing your expenses as much as possible will pay off in the long run.
Image source: http://www.mint.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/student-loans1.jpg
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