College Loans And Paying For College

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paying for college

I would love some advice… Although I can retire in 10 years, I went back to school recently and earned my college degree. All of my student loans are coming due soon and I haven’t found a better job yet. Right now I earn about $24,000 a year and I support my daughter and 2 grandchildren. (They live with me and my daughter homeschools them – and takes good care of me.) I want to get the loans paid off quickly, as I have paid off 2 credit cards and 2 vehicle loans – so this is the last debt to pay off. In your opinion, what is the best way to pay off the loans? I am not sure I make enough to pay on each loan monthly, but consolidating them into one giant loan might not be the best choice either…

Thank you.

Dee, unless you are going to get a lower interest rate, there really isn’t a reason to consolidate your loans. They still have to be paid. Sometimes there comes a point where you can only stretch your income so much and then you just have to do something to bring more money in. The only option I see for you based on the information you shared is to get a part time job and use all of that money to pay off your loans.

I don’t know your whole situation after reading just a few lines but maybe your daughter could get an evening job when you are home to help with the kids. If you are really serious about getting out of debt your daughter might have to stop homeschooling your grandchildren if you can’t afford to have your her staying at home and not working. I don’t have a problem with homeschooling or private schools but if you can’t afford to do it you may have to rethink that choice.

When you do pay off the loans, it is best to pay as much as you can to the smallest one first to try to get it paid off and just pay the minimum to the others. Then when the smallest one is paid off, you can apply all of the money you had been paying for that one to the next and so on.

The rest of the article isn’t for you but for others who are thinking about going to college and doing it on student loans.  We get nasty emails all the time for saying this but if you can’t pay for your college as you go then it’s better not to go! Your case is the perfect example of what can happen. It’s very easy to get stuck with the debts without the means to easily pay them back.

I hate to be a voice of gloom and doom but if you’re thinking of spending tens of thousands of dollars to go to school, be careful! Getting a college education used to mean that you were almost certain to get a higher paying job but things have really changed. It seems like higher paying jobs are getting harder to find and lower paying jobs are a dime a dozen. Getting a good education doesn’t always guarantee a great job. You’d be shocked to know how many people contact us with $100,000 in student loans but who are apparently unable to get jobs in their fields of study.

Years ago if a man was serious about going to school he would join the service and would be willing to sacrifice much and work hard to get his education. He worked first to save for his education. Now, many of us borrow the money first and hope we can get a good enough job later to pay for it. 

Sometimes some people think “I deserve an education so I can have a better life and if someone else has to pay for it that’s OK because I deserve it.” We all want a better education but that doesn’t mean we can all afford to spend the money and we are ultimately responsible for the cost.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with helping a person who comes from a poorer background and difficult circumstances, who spends most of his or her time studying hard, working full time and is willing to go to a less expensive school. These people are trying hard and being responsible and helping them may make a real difference. I do have problems with those who work the minimum amount required of them, spend their money foolishly and spend more time at parties, socializing and engaging in fun extra-curricular activities than studying. This happens more often than not with college students and a lot of times the parents are paying for it when they really can’t afford it.

Also if you are going to an expensive school because the name of the school will impress others, you really have a problem. It is the same as going into debt to buy a pair of designer jeans so you can impress others. If you don’t have the money to buy them then you shouldn’t buy them.

If you are going to college just to get a good education for a reasonably good job then you don’t need to choose an expensive prestigious college. (I do realize that if you’re looking for some specialized education for a specific job like choosing a law school, some more expensive schools might be a better choice.) In the same way that all jeans are made for one main purpose and that is to cover the body and both cheap jeans and expensive ones accomplish that, most colleges provide a reasonable enough education for the needs of most people.

So, once again, be very careful before you go into debt so you or your children can get an education for a better paying job. You would be better off spending the money for your child to learn a good trade first and then they can get an advanced degree later if they want it, after they have saved for it.


 Tawra’s Perspective:

I was watching a morning show today and the hosts were talking with a lady who didn’t know what she was going to do because she owed $163,000 in student loans and was only earning $50,000 per year now. The “experts” helped her negotiate the student loans down to a lower interest rate, but there was no discussion about not choosing to incur this much debt in the first place.

If you can’t pay cash for college then you shouldn’t be going! Period! Frankly, I’m tired of hearing people whining about how they just “can’t” pay for their student loans after the fact because they aren’t earning enough.

People really need to consider the cost and the benefit of the education. If you’re spending $100,000 in students loans for a degree in social work for a job that only pays $19,000 per year, you’ll be spending the majority of your career paying off the loans, which will make it very difficult to live the life you will want to live. It doesn’t matter how much you like the job, eventually you’re going to get tired of paying a premium price (cost plus interest) for something you received many years ago.

When most people borrow, they also neglect to consider what happens if they change their minds. Many people have contacted us who borrowed huge sums of money for a degree, committing themselves to 10-20 years of payments only to decide after college that they hated the chosen career fields or that they wanted to be stay at home moms. Others conclude that they will simply not be able to get a job in their chosen fields. By then the money has been spent and it must be paid back. Often these people are left with the substantial debt and without the job.

Why is it that people think it’s OK to carry student loans on their backs for 10-20 years but they don’t think it’s reasonable to take 6-8 years to go to school part time while they work to pay cash for it?

Most college students are younger single people looking forward to a career and a family after college. It is much easier to sacrifice the time and extra effort when you are still young and single rather than to borrow money, promising to pay it back with interest later at a time in life when you will have much more financial pressure and greater family responsibilities.

The fact is, people should be paying cash for college. For years, people worked at night, on the weekends and over the summer to pay for college. They worked hard to get scholarships and grants to help pay for it.  They worked hard to pay their living expenses. They scrimped and saved so they wouldn’t have any debt after school.

If you have kids that are planning to start college next year or are in college right now, encourage them to pay cash for it themselves or, if you’re going to help, encourage them to pay at least part of it themselves. As soon as kids turn 16 or even sooner, if possible, it wouldn’t hurt for them to start working and contributing towards their own college funds.

If you are a parent and feel the need to help your kids pay for school that’s fine but all your debt should be paid off first, including your house. If your house and debt is paid off, then you will have the extra cash flow to help them pay.

If you’re planning to go to college, look for ways to save money. Start at a less expensive junior college to get the basics at a lower cost before transferring to a university. Work to get scholarships and grants that don’t have to be paid back and yes, go to college part time so you can work full time to pay for school and your living expenses.


For more easy and practical ways to save money and get out of debt, check out Dig out Of Debt and learn more about how to keep more of your money.


Photo By: Conseil général des Yvelines



  1. Linda says

    Hi! Just a few comments to paying for college. We were able to start putting a little bit away for each of our four kids as soon as they were born for their college tuition.(figuring if they didn’t go we would have extra money,but we like helping them out) Then, in Minnesota, we have a program where 11 and 12 grade kids can go to college(with a few rules)with tuition and books paid for by the state. Our first, second, and now third kid is doing that at the local community college and it saves about $10,000 a kid. Then, after they have taken all they can there, they move on to a University with the major they want-because the price is the best. They usually have enough to cover rent, the kid takes out subsidized student loans as much as the government has given them( the interest on these loans does not start until 6 months after you get the degree) and we, so far, can cover the rest. The first kid has a degree, worked hard finding a job, and had his loans paid off the first year of work( less than $20,000). The second guy is at the University and does just fine without a car(because none of us can afford one for him right now, but “they” all think that is horrid and he says ‘thanks’ for what we are doing!) The third just started last fall and spent so much time in the tutoring center because of a chem class was offered a job there this spring and making a few bucks. The fourth says she is tired of always hearing everyone talk about college! One thing we found is when you enter upper lever classes the University charges the student the price of full time ( 12 credits) whether you take more or less so you are caught by then. I agree with all you write about college finances and getting way over your head in loans. Thanks for reading! Sorry so long!

  2. Lynda says

    I absolutely agree with both of you! I went back to school not to make more money but to have a safety net should I ever get laid off again. I understood the consequences but found a lower tuition school and am paying back my loans. I would not go into college nowadays with the thoughts of changing or starting a new just doesn’t work that way anymore. Thanks for speaking plain english on a touchy subject. :o) I love you guys!

  3. Natalie says

    What a refreshing point of view – and I have to say I so agree. I’m fortunate to come from a country that invests in the education of it’s citizens but my Masters still cost $20k. Upon completion I seriously considered continuing into a Doctorate – $46k of cost (few years ago) until I realised the title would not add an additional $46k to my income – EVER. In hindsight, the MBA didn’t contribute to my existing Salary which was 100% based on hands-on experience.

    While I am saving for my Daughter’s education it is not with the intention that she MUST go to Higher Education. This is a serious investment in One’s future without a guarantee of an higher income – if the Return on Investment isn’t there then it simply is a very very bad investment!

    • says

      Yes Natalie. Thank you for your comment because that was what I was trying to point out in my article. You need to think about it and decide will this really add to my income and if it will will it be enough to make it worth it for all the time and energy that you have to put into it. I know some will say that learning more is always a plus and I don’t disagree but if it is just learning more that you are wanting then start reading or hitting the internet – that is free (I go to the library for all my books)

  4. Leah Dunn says

    I’m going to Western Governors University online. It’s geared towards people already working and is very flexible. It’s also a non-profit and much cheaper than the other online/campus schools I looked at. There’s a flat fee each six months regardless of how many classes you take. If I’m really ambitious, I could finish my degree (business) in half the time!! I’m a wife and mom too though so I do have other priorities! My HR department recommended WGU to me which was a huge push for me to go there. Another plus is that all the books are available in an e-book format for no cost! Books are expensive so free is GREAT I have to do a class online at another collage in order to go to WGU because they only accept persons that already have some collage experience. That cost was minimal. I actually got a 2 for 1 class price. My hardest part is finding the time (insert –making the time!) But I’m working on it! Also I’m getting student loans for the 4 years I’ll be in school. I estimate that it will cost me approximately 22k for the 4 years. I should be able to pay this off in one year or less with the increase in pay that I’ll be making! Smart school for smart people! ?

  5. Leah Dunn says

    One more thing. 22K is what I would have paid for 2 years at a Jr collage or one year at a major University. Smart, Smart, Smart!!!

  6. Rachel says

    I got graduated, and have a few more suggestions for those who are going to be attending college – if you can, enroll in an community college or an off-campus branch of the school – live at home and save yourself a lot of money- then transfer to the college you want and get the degree from there.

    Also, very often the edition of the textbooks assigned for class are the newest and only lightly edited from previous editions you can get much cheaper used – check with the professor and see if you can substitute. And look for then online before buying through the school! A friend of mine also saved on her textbooks by buying the kindle edition.

    • Ranae says

      I buy on-line whenever possible. I definitely make sure I price compare. I have saved up to 50% (sometimes more) on textbooks by buying on-line. Sometimes the bookstore was cheaper but not usually. If bookstore policy allows, I sell my books back at the bookstore as I can get more money than selling on-line. My first semester I recouped my textbook costs plus $70 profit.

      Textbook rentals are also on the rise both in bookstores and on-line. That can save money especially if it is not a book you want to keep after the class.

    • JazzFest says

      Kijiji is also great for buying textbooks and selling used ones. A lot of times I save even more than I would by getting them from an online retailer. The only thing is that it is dependent on who is selling at the time…

  7. Melora says

    Your article had some good points. It disturbs me, however, you only mentioned getting a job with a college education. I don’t feel anyone should go to college just to get a job, but for an education.

    • says

      95% of the people going to college are doing it so they can get what they think is a better paying job. If you’re spending that much money to just “get an education” then you had better be paying cash.

    • says

      I didn’t mention it because that really wasn’t the point I was trying to make in this article plus spending 10’s of thousands of dollars just to get an education isn’t a luxury most people can really afford now. I am bombarded with people who are moaning because of high prices, credit card debt and how they can’t afford anything in these “hard economic” times so to suggest they should spend this kind of money to get an education didn’t make sense to me. I am all for people getting an education and don’t have a problem with that but in my business I have seen and had to deal with the fallout and stress of what happens to people and their families who are burdened down with huge debts and not able to provide for their families properly because of having to try and make huge payments for an “education”. I know it sounds fine and noble to say you are getting and education but when it comes to being practical just isn’t. To me personally I am much more impressed with a person who was wise enough to know they can’t afford to pay for an education and doesn’t go into debt to do it, compared to a person who unwisely and foolishly spends thousands of dollars of someone else’s money and doesn’t pay it back, defaults on it or causes others (like family members) to suffer n order to pay for it all in the name of education.

  8. rose says

    theres lots of ways to pay for ur education .. if u want to work in the medical field, go to a teaching hospital and see if u can work in any dept (housekeeping, kitchen) and see if they can help pay for ur education if u agree to sign a contract with them that if they help u then u will work for them after u graduate for a certain amt of time .. it’s a win-win situation here ..
    also, some online schools offer pay as u go for ur education (i think that college leah goes to does and i know ashworth college does too; u just have to make sure its a fully accredited school .. i know ashworth is bc my son is currently going thru them) ..
    just look around and see ..
    and jill, u r right .. if u just want to learn about something the library is a great place for that .. i plan on learning how to do bookkeeping .. i have been saying this for yrs but now that i am moved, i am hoping my time will permit me to do this in the summer ..
    its just something for me to do and learn .. and i have wnated to do this for a very long time too .. so hopefully i will find some really good books to teach me ..

  9. Mary says

    Excellent article.

    Our daughter got her bachelors and masters on student loans. She has been teaching 17 years and has three more years to go before the loans are paid off. She regrets it now, but like a lot of kids, she wouldn’t listen to anyone. Paying off her student loans has hindered her dramatically in buying a home, a car etc.

    In her school district, she only makes $1000 more per year having a masters. She pays four times that per year paying her loans.

    Our son on the other hand didn’t want to go to college right out of high school. He took an accounting class at the Voc-Tech and worked for several years. From what he saved and by going to night school, he graduated with a degree and no student loans.

  10. Sabrina says

    Funny, college without debt is our family’s goal for our four kids; if they want to go. They could also choose to go straight to work. So far we have two going to a local community college and both work at least part time. One is in his second year and the other is in her fourth year. While I’ll be happy to see my daughter go on to university and finish her degree, she’s now working full time and schooling part time and has NO school debt or any other debt, so I can’t complain. So far we’re meeting our goal. Thankfully we can help pay for most if not all of their education, as long as it’s at state school.
    I know a few people, including a school counselor, who seem to think if it’s not from a big name school your education isn’t going to help you find a job. Well, as my dh says, it’s not where you go, it’s how hard and smart you work. He’s seen people come from big name schools who couldn’t write themselves out of a paper bag or are just plain lazy, they don’t last long. I have a feeling as jobs become scarcer, work ethic and ability to communicate are going to become gold, not the name on your degree.

  11. Beth says

    Since we have a huge family, I have been working on strategies for education for them since they were born. There are three external granting degree programs that are terrific bargains,
    one is Charter Oak State College Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey Excelsior College in New York
    This link was new
    The most important detail about these schools are that they are regionally accredited, which counts a lot. I don’t have time to do this post well, because of very pressing family obligations today, but one of my sons has gotten 95% of his bachelor’s degree through Charter Oak for $12,000.
    We have another son who got a fabulous 4 year scholarship to Worcester Polytechnic Institute which charges a fortune usually. This was a lucky break but we don’t expect that will happen for the rest of them.
    There’s a book that came out after my older son had most of his degree through Charter Oak, it is “Accelerated Distance Learning: The New Way to Earn Your Degree in the Twenty-First Century” It gives a convincing explanation on how these entirely external degree programs work. Now one thing to understand is that I am not saying it isn’t valuable to have face to face classroom experience but we just can’t afford it. One resource that we have enjoyed for years is The Teaching Company which is at This company went around scouring for the “best of the best” in college professors, interviewed them and then filmed them giving their courses in a studio environment with appropriate visual aids. It’s like having a front row seat with a top professor. These courses are expensive, in the realm of several hundred dollars at full retail BUT they put them on sale on a rotating basis, and we have bought them at great prices, as low as $59 all the time. My kids who did go to college classes, think these are terrific. One issue with doing all this by remote, is that in some fields like the son who is at WPI, it’s not only what you know, but who you can convince that you have what it takes in that field. He has gotten crucial contacts at his school. But if we hadn’t encouraged him by buying cheap textbooks, and electronic stuff, and encouraged him that he could learn on his own, he doubtlessly wouldn’t have gotten such high SAT scores (he homeschooled himself for the most part).
    Hope this is helpful.

  12. Marcia says

    I went back to college in my late thirties and since my dh was also going back to school for nursing both he and I borrowed money to just get by…and we both worked part time as well. I worked for eight years and left my job and couldn’t find another. I FINALLY after thirteen years paid off that last student loan (I had to defer it a couple of times, and I would not recommend deferment unless it is really an emergency)and I would LOVE to go back to school BUT… I am now in my fifties and the LAST thing I would want to do is go into retirement still paying on student loans! So I decided that an associate degree has to be it for me unless I can get a job of some kind to pay for more classes and even if I did get work I would rather put that money on other debt than to pay off more student loans at this point in time. Here in Maine most people don’t have the luxury of going to college just for enrichment. We just don’t have the money. That doesn’t make us uncouth or untaught as people in other parts of the country have implied. It just makes us practical because we know we have to make a living sooner or later. Unless you’re born wealthy you can’t go to school forever and if you are wealthy, what are you doing with student loans?!

    • says

      That is true for many other places too and people. Some many things which were considered luxuries people now consider their right and they should have it even if they can’t afford. The reality is most of these things are still a luxury no matter how you look at it and there are many people in Kansas to who can’t afford to go to college just for enrichment either.

  13. Ranae says

    I am currently in college at age 38. I just transferred to a 4 year college after earning an associates at a community college. My oldest is in her freshman year at an out-of-state college. We have not taken out any loans to pay for our education nor do we plan to do so.

    What has happened is I won enough scholarships last semester to pay for the entire semester and costs like gas and childcare (my youngest is 4 and not in school yet).

    Other ways I save is to put all my classes on 2, maybe 3, days of the week or do on-line classes. This allows me to care for my family. It also saves childcare and gas costs since I am not gone all week. I can also do things like assemble freezer meals to save costs of eating out on “those” days.

    My husband and I started saving years ago because a college education is something we feel is important and stress that to our children. We encourage our children to save as well with incentives like matching for money they may earn from us for baby-sitting, changing oil, yard chores. Our saving has allowed us to pay for TWO college educations with help of a couple of scholarships and grants. We will add a third college student tuition my last year of college and will continue to do what we have done so far. My oldest saved from jobs she had and pays many of her expenses. We pay for room/board and tuition but she has been able to cover the rest.

    Once I begin working (I will be a teacher endorsed in multiple subjects so am more marketable), my income is to be used solely for building savings, paying for kids’ college (got 20+ years with 7 of them) and church missions our children may choose to do. It will not be used for daily expenses. I do not want to run the risk of getting used to a dual income for day-to-day living and have something happen that puts a stop to that. The loss of an income with our plan would mean savings and college funds would stop – while good, food, utilities and the like are the priority. If – heaven forbid – both incomes are lost, a savings cushion would have been built up to help until income is re-established.

    I want to be able to enjoy a career that I have wanted to be my whole life. I wouldn’t be able to do that with a loan(s) hanging over my head. I would be working to pay for those not because of the joy I would receive from educating children. I want my children to see that hard work and sacrifice is hard at times but the pay-offs are great – peace of mind, security, confidence and strength. Life is hard, but that doesn’t mean I need to make it harder which enslaving myself to others through loans will do. Kudos for the article!

  14. Bea says

    If you are a Christian you have to be very careful of the kind of “education” you are going to get at a secular college or university. They try to “educate” you right out of your beliefs in God and your Christian worldview. If you want an education you can go to the library, use the internet, or buy books from reliable sources. I know from experience the worldview of some universities. One of my history classes was about Hilter’s sexual life. This is not a joke, and is something I didn’t want to learn. Considering it was a required history course, and the cost per credit, I was very upset I had to take that class. That is only one example of the kind of so called education you may pay BIG BUCKS for and regret.

    • Grandma says

      Bea, if you raise your children with your beliefs they can go to any school or club and keep their beliefs.
      Education is to teach you other ways of looking at things.
      You may for a time think you have given up your beliefs but in the long term what you learned from your family will win out.
      I am a Christian but do not go to any church and rarely talk about my beliefs. Even to our children it was a non topic.
      But they behave in a more christian way than many Christian mouth pieces. I don’t mean ordinary people but the ministers and priests who it is more do as I say not what I do.
      One day my son was leaving work and saw a crowd of people. Apparently one man was attacked by a man with a machette. His hand had been almost cut off. Nobody was doing anything to help him.
      My son ordered someone to call 911 which a couple people finally did. But nobody was helping the man who was bleeding to death. My son held his fingers over the veins in his wrist and got his hand back in place holding it ther until Paramedics came and took over.
      One man was praying, one man said if God wanted him saved he would be.
      Sometimes what God wants is for us to action and do some of the work.
      Without education we cannot know about evil that is out there. Books become obsolete very quickly as this world is changing so fast with computers and terrorists. We need to keep up to date with what evils are and who they are.
      Hitlers sex life seems pretty weird in any class, so we do have to pick and choose what classes to take and what to believe.
      But we have to keep an open mind and learn where ever and what ever we can to keep being able to believe what we believe.

  15. Tara says

    WOW! I am 29, have 3 kids, SAHM because I can’t find a job. My husband just finished his Bachelor degree, so I decided to go back to school in the sustainability field. I am only in my 2nd class. Considering this is a 4 year degree and I have cannot honestly say what the reality of a job market will be like in 4 years, I am now scared to death. Everyone has brought up wonderful points here. I really feel that I may be at a crossroad here, though. Well, I guess I’ll figure it out eventually one way or another. Thanks for the many different perspective, some of which I never considered.

  16. Jan says

    You didn’t mention going to school on grants and scholarship. Both of my 30 something kids live at home and are back in college. They are not employed and qualify for Federal financial aid ( and so does anyone who is not a $100K wage earner). Both are excellent students. They know why they need the education at this age. They qualify for grants and scholarships based on their income status and their grades. Its not all that hard to pay as you go this way.

    • says

      Yes the thing is on many articles like this I don’t have room to cover every area of the subject so I usually do it in sections. Chances are you will find me talking covering it in another article or e book. I have to the articles short so I try to pick a point that most don’t always think about or who may have not considered.

  17. Heike says

    You guys are right! Years ago, a degree “meant” something – you were one of a few. Now it seems that almost everyone has a degree in something, and they still just get minimum wage jobs. That should tell people something. I can’t understand people who push their children to go to college no matter what – there are so many other options!

    Unless you truly feel called to a particular profession, and you plan to be the very best in your field, having a college degree really doesn’t put you ahead that much if you consider the student loans that must be paid back.

    Pay cash for college seems like a very smart idea to me.

    • Grandma says

      Bea I just read an article that says universities are teaching a lot of classes that amount to nothing in the job market.
      But students are still taking out loans and paying for them.
      BA’s mean almost nothing any more. My son went to university for 4 years came out owing $5000. had his BA and there were no jobs in the province for him and his degree.
      He took another 6 week course and moved to China to teach english.
      Where did all the money go that he spent for the degree? Into the university coffers.
      Before anyone even thinks of signing up for a course at university maybe do some research and figure out what has the best possibility of getting them a job.
      Instead of university maybe check out degrees at a college. Better chance of jobs when done and a lot less money.
      One son went to university and one son went to college in the welding course. The university son lives in China the college son makes over $100,000 a year welding.
      I think the college was much better value.
      My son loves his job in China but he would like to come home if a job opens up or he starts making more money on his on line business. So I still think college or an apprenticeship program is better in the long run.
      You can make a living with hardwork and learning on your own and if you can’t afford university don’t spend good money after bad trying to get the degree that might not get you a job.
      I didn’t mean to upset you with my comments but I do think education where ever you get it is always useful. Just becoming a professional student or one who is so far in debt they need a 6 figure pay cheque just to pay back the money they owe is not worth it.

  18. Bea says

    Grandma, What you wrote about is so true. Just as in some elementary schools and high schools, college courses can teach almost nothing. Standards are down. American students of all sorts, are lower in educational levels than other countries. Teachers are afraid to fail or challenge students, so many courses are “junk” courses that don’t teach much. Unfortunately.
    I wasn’t really upset so much with you as being upset with the memories of my university experience. My parents couldn’t help me at all financially, so I had to work at night as a waitress, and go to school during the day. Very hard and tiring. So I took out a small amount of loans and was upset with the quality of the classes. That history course was just one example. The first day of my biology class the professor came right out and said, “I don’t believe in God.” There was absolutely no reason to say that. I could tell though, from that statement that his teaching was going to refect his secular worldview, and it did. Some students, who are not formed in their Christian faith the right way, could have been led astray by his secularism. Not all students have a solid base of Christianity to recognise garbage when they hear it and it affects the rest of their life decisions.
    Thanks for explaning what you meant Grandma.

    • Grandma says

      Bea, at least the professor was being honest. A fool for even bringing up the subject of his personal beliefs but there are so many out there who say one thing and then act the opposite of what they say or believe.
      Too many special interest groups are taking over or attempting to ridicule others beliefs.
      It is time for people to stand up and say enough is enough.
      I don’t know how to go about it in a large way but I have joined a political party so my one small voice has a vote on the party’s decisions.
      I write letters to news papers and to the offending party. Do I get any results? Yes.
      15 years ago I sat with our minister of education and told him exactly what I wanted done. 95% of what I told him was enacted. He said he listened because I was mom who cared about what children were taught and how. I was not a professional and that went a long way with him.
      I wrote the university telling them I didn’t think every student should have to pay for the local bus since not all students ever took the bus. Waste of money. I said I din’t think students who didn’t use the campus pub should have to pay for its upkeep. Waste of money again.
      Still working on those since it is the student union I have to fight in this case.
      So if people want changes they have to make themselves heard even if it means blasing emails to the people in charge every day. the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
      Canada and the States were built on immigrants and by immigrants but those immigrants had the same beliefs basically that we all did. Now the immigrants want to change our beliefs to match their own and they are changing our way of life.
      Don’t stop immigration or their beliefs but don’t let them and special interest groups make us change ours that have worked quite well for generations.
      Over my rant of too many changes too quickly for comfort.

      • says

        Basically what it boils down too is what my civics teacher told us years ago and that is everyone has their rights yes but your rights go only as far as the end of my nose. For years I thought the man was crazy and couldn’t figure out what he meant. It sure did stick with me for some reason. I finally got it. Yes you (we) all have rights but when your rights start infringing or getting rid of mine or stepping on mine then that is wrong.

  19. April says

    I totally agree with you about paying for college as you go. I think kids work harder in their classes when they are paying for them. My sons are working and paying for their school as they go, it my take them a little longer but I think they will appreciate it later.

  20. Cindy, in NC says

    Jill and Tawra,You are absolutely right. My brother and I both worked our way through college and also even high school. Our mom was widowed at age 44 and she worked in a textile mill (these were the good old days when manufacturing was still strong in America). She made a good wage and her house was paid for, but we knew mom was still young and had her own future to plan for. We drew a small check from social security, but it didn’t cover everything, so we worked. I didn’t graduate until I was 24 years old, but that was not so traumatic. I bought my own car and saved money. My brother and I can’t believe our ears when we hear people say they mortgaged their own homes to pay for their kid’s college. We would have been absolutey horrified at even the thought of risking our mom’s only home. Because of the life’s lesson we learned at such an early age, both my brother and I have retired early, in our 50’s, and have been able to save and invest our money. I am grateful now that we got our eduations on our own. It isn’t punishing your children to teach them responsibility and how to live independently. Our mother is in heaven now and we can take care of ourselves and our families without help. What our parents taught us was a great gift; it’s the REAL AMERICAN DREAM, to have a home and family of your own and owe very little, if any. God Bless, Cindy

  21. Bea says

    Very true Jill and Grandma. And believe me I don’t keep my mouth shut when I shouldn’t. Life as a Christian, and a decent woman (try to be) in this crazy world, is an ongoing battle as Jesus said it would be.

  22. Jan says

    What’s really wrong about the cost of college is the whole educational system. It has been my observation that children learn most of what they need to know to survive by the end of 7th grade. After that its more socializing than learning. I believe that by the age of 13-14 kids should be required to work in apprenticeship. Learn a job that will make them money. If they are willing to learn they should be able to continue their education after they complete their apprenticeships. We would have more hard working citizens and less of those on assistance because they aren’t educated enough to get work. I went to a nursing school in the late 60’s that was 6 hours of working in a hospital and 2 hours of classroom per day. I realized in later years that I had more practical education then the nurses who sat in a classroom 6 hours a day for 4 years. I had learned the same things but knew how to use the information in a practical sense. I watched my two brilliant children mess around in 9th grade to the point that they had to make it up during the next three years of high school. High school consisted of dances and ball games and clubs more than education.

  23. joy2b says

    Before investing heavily in a degree, it’s really worth talking to people who’ve gotten the degree and done well. We’ve learned that:

    Graduate degrees often come with pay, rather than bills.
    – One of the differences between a college and a university, is that universities have an army graduate students, which help to run the school. Research and teaching assistant positions are usually the best options, as they would be valuable experience, even if they didn’t come with pay and tuition discounts. When these aren’t available, simply making ends meet by being a labbie, RA, or tutor may be an option. Whenever possible, you want a position that gives you a large tuition discount, and a small stipend. It’s common to make around $10 an hour, and get 50-100% off on your tuition. Some departments will have more jobs available than others. Sciences require labs full of researchers. If a school has trouble persuading professors to spend time in the classroom for all the 100 level math, english, computer, etc classes, they may use TAs heavily.)

    Name brand schools are there for networking.
    – Building a network of a few hundred other contacts who are also going out into the job market is valuable. New employees are often asked to refer other candidates. Make sure that the time you spend socializing results in a network of people who you’d be able to refer or ask for a referral. This is the underlying recruiting promise of certain clubs and fraternities, and of certain programs. Keep in mind, name brand schools often have a few name brand programs, and those students may do much better in industry than the rest. Also, if you choose a name brand school, try to talk your way into paid internships each summer, and career advice from alumni in your field.

    Name brand programs are there for free passes to interview with the best paying employers in that field. This is where the big payoff from college can really come from.
    – For instance, a school with a reputation for putting out excellent CPAs or lawyers may organize trips to interview with top firms. They may regularly place interns in these firms prior to graduation, which regularly leads to job offers. It’s easy to miss these opportunities if you don’t ask professors in your program about them, or ask about which programs are the hardest to get into. Even small and affordable schools may have a specific degree which is much in demand.
    A 2 year school can have a dental hygiene programs with 99% employment. A four year school may produce imaging graduates needed for intelligence jobs, or nurses, or business degrees who tend to do well in banking. Certain law schools have vital industry ties which lead into the high end firms.

    A general liberal arts school or a program without a reputation will usually lack tracks into industry, often won’t have the endowments to offer students much in the way of aid or employment, and will instead promote the lackluster resources of the career services office, and treat students like cash cows. Hopefully, they’ll be a cost effective source of a degree, but in many cases, you can pay as much as the graduates who are holding a job offer did.

  24. Betsy says

    I went to school at Berea College in KY that is entirely *FREE* for students who have good grades and fall below the income cap. Everyone there is there because they have financial need but also a drive to get an education. It was established by quakers in the 1800s with the intent of being a school where anyone could get an education no matter how much money they had. There are actually several similar colleges that offer free tuition, if one is willing to look for them. Everyone at my school was required to work (all the janitors, gardeners, cafeteria workers, etc were students and even some of the buildings had been built by students and some of the food was grown on a farm by students), and all of us ended up with a top-ranked education and no debt. My husband went to a regular college, couldn’t find a job afterwords, and had to join the military. We are now struggling with his student loan debt. I am so glad though that I did my research when choosing a school so we only have one set of debts to pay off. Like I said, there are several colleges with free tuition for needy and deserving students. Even Harvard University has an amazing need-based scholarship program. It just requires making good grades, doing the research to find the schools, and swallowing pride.

  25. LAC says

    I home schooled both my children. My daughter took an online course in Interior Decorating after high school and had no debt when she finished the course. She doesn’t work in that field but works as a care giver on the weekends which provided free training. My son has his heart set on college but even after we filled out the FAFSA government grants he would need to take out 2 different student loans in order to pay for his first semester. We did the math. After he receives his 2 year degree he would be $60,000 in debt. The correspondence school he goes to now offers Associate and Bachelors degrees online. They have 0% interest as well. If you pay the whole course you get a nice discount. Also they let you pay monthly with 0 interest rate again they give another discount. We have been satisfied with this school and his Associates Degree will cost us less than $5,000 also this will be paid in full by the time he graduates so there will be no debt afterwards! This degree will be for the very same course he wanted to take at the local college that would have left him in debt of $60,000! It pays to do your homework and look for other ways to achieve your goals.

  26. rose says

    we looked into sending our daughter to berea college in kentucky, too .. its a wonderful school! ..
    we paid for her to go to the local community college where she has her AA degree .. but when she wanted to go further, she took out loans .. and is still paying htem off now .. its not alot she owes, she has paid them down over the years .. but now she is in an online college and paying as she goes .. by the time she gets her masters (i think thats it .. ) .. she will have satisfied her “loans”/tuition for this school ..
    our son quit school.. did the community college GED/HS diploma thing, then quit that .. and now he realizes he needs at least a high school diploma .. he is currently enrolled in the same online school as his sister .. and doing the schoolwork and is about 75% done with the program .. he is even looking at some of the other programs .. he feels if he can pay as he goes he wont incur the debts …
    so, yes .. do ur homework, there are colleges that can make it easier to get that higher education without literally selling ur blood to pay for it ..
    and if ur are wanting to do anything in the medical field, ask around .. some of those nursing agencies may know of some place that can offer those cna courses for practically free .. and then u take the state exam ..
    if u want to do something else in the med field, ask the local hospital if they offer any help .. i know in a teaching hospital they do .. u sign a contract that while ur in school you will do some kind of job and then when u are done with school u will fulfill so many yrs (or a certain amt of time) to work in that field ..

  27. Michelle McGee says

    Unfortunately,I didn’t have those options. I worked like a dog to make living expenses and took out grants and student loans to complete my education. I was completely on my own and a young,single person without a spouse and children. However, after working a year of one full-time and one part-time job, I decided to join the Army. They paid off my loans in the four years I enlisted.The amount was a little over $32 thousand.I believe this option is available to reserve and national guard. Also, they will pay for nursing and PA degrees if you give them at least 4 years and you will be commissioned an officer. Check with a recruiter.

  28. Cindy says

    We settled in a small university town so our children could live at home for college. With good grades and our modest income, scholarships and grants have covered about 98% of undergrad costs. Something to keep in mind!

    I’m not totally against all student loans, but I think first students should be working full time during the summers and part time during school, as well as choosing some of the cheaper options listed above.

  29. Erika says

    I loved the article and agree fully. It’s so hard not to submit to peer pressure when it comes to financial choices though. My grandparents and parents were all drug addicts for most of their lives and as the one to never touch drugs, not be a teen mom, and graduate high school they’re very proud of me. However my parents and my well-to-do aunts are pushing me to go to college even though I don’t want to. I know my family will think I failed if I don’t go. I can’t decide if I should go and have to pay off a bunch of student loans or not go and have them disapprove in my choices and compare me to my parents. I’d have to take out student loans on everything since I recently found out my parents spent everything in my collage fund. I’m going to show them this article and hopefully I can at least convince them to let me take time to save up some before attending. I’ll have a little more time to try and decide what to do if they agree.

    • says

      I know it is hard to go against what your family thinks is best for you and I do think we need to listen to them and weight their advice but bottom line is you are the one that will have to live with the consequences in the end and you really need to do what you think is best for you. I understand because I was really pushed by my family to do certain things they thought were best for me but I knew God wanted me to do something else that didn’t look like the right thing to them at all for many years they would hardly have anything to do with me and I keep thinking was I wrong but now 40 years later I am seeing things happen that I am so glad I didn’t do what they were pressing me to do because my life and my children’s life would have been a big mess.

      You sound like you really have it together. You are looking at all the pros and cons and weighting them all. Don’t be afraid to say no. I know you don’t want them angry at you but at the same time it is better to have to deal with their anger for awhile then to be stressed and really emotionally hurt from having to spend years paying off debt. Not only that but if you marry in a few years you will be burdening your husband and children with those debts all because you didn’t want your family upset with you.

      If they are the ones to have spent your money then I really don’t think they are the ones with the wisdom to tell you what to do so theirs would be the last advice I would follow no matter how upset they get. As far as your well off aunts go they really can’t understand your situation at all if money isn’t a problem for them so their advice would be as bad if not worst. Please don’t do it because of pressure. You have been so strong so far not giving into drugs, becoming a teen mom and graduating (my hat goes off to you for doing a great job) don’t let down your guard and give in to another form of pressure that is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

      • Erika says

        Thank you for the good advice. My fiance told me something quite similar. It’s nice to hear an outside perspective. At least I have till autumn to think of a good way to try and tell them. My aunts and mother will be the biggest obstacle, they just tell me “your too young to know whats good for you, we’ll decide for you”. I quite enjoyed your grown children who still live at home article as well.

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