Updated: Mar 26
When you begin college with the intent of preparing yourself for a better future but leave with uncertainty and worry, was it all worth it? College can teach you subjects, like medicine and law, that you would not be able to best practice otherwise. With 44 million Americans holding $1.5 trillion in debt, what can we do to make sure future generations do not suffer the same fate?
Debt is defined by Investopedia as an amount of money borrowed by one party from another.
Are student loans debt if you are not given a fair opportunity to pay what is borrowed back?
Is Debt a Form of Slavery?
A great article to read is “The State of the American Debt” by Wolf Street. Student loan debt can keep you from purchasing a home, starting a business, or saving for retirement. You find that every month you make a payment on your student loans, but the interest is greater than what you are paying off.
Students that have not entered college yet deserve to know all the options. They should never be roped into a lifelong choice that could affect their lives forever and not comprehend the consequences until they receive a letter in the mail. Even if they decide to take two semesters off of school to save up money and go back, kids should be aware of “exit status”. When you are not in school for six months, you have to start paying and interest may already be tacked on.
4 Ways to Solve The Student Debt Crisis
1. Pay the classes you can afford and take it slow
When you only enroll in the classes you can afford to pay out of pocket, you are making a very smart decision. There is nothing wrong with taking your time. If you work part-time and pay cash for two classes, you are still part-time in school as well.
Some people recommend that you go to college full-time and just get it out of the way. You may get homework out of the way, but the expensive $40,000 loans you will owe as it increases with interest until it is paid off.
I graduated from high school and college at 16 years old. I currently have an Associate of Science degree and I am continuing my education to major in Computer Science. This is my second semester I have taken off due to business, travel, and my book launch. I completely understand the method of paying my way through college because I have already have over $6,000 in student debt at 17 years old from one semester!
2. Dual Enrollment
Dual enrollment is a program that I advocate for every time I have a speaking engagement or people ask me how did I graduate early.
There is a national program that allows high school (and in some states middle school) students take college classes for almost free, if not completely free. Kids can replace their high school classes with college classes and receive dual credit. This initiative opens students up to opportunities that most may have not had before, like receive a degree track in a specific field and start work at 18 years old with an advantage over other graduates. Kids who plan to go into trade skills can have a diploma in Associate of Applied Engineering before they graduate.
This also gives future generations the opportunity to explore higher education past a bachelor’s degree, like a doctorate, because they are only 16 years old. The program exists and is open to anyone who recognizes that the possibilities are there for financial success.
3. Pay more with each payment
Each month you make the minimum on your student loan debt, but what if you can actually make a dent in the time needed to pay it off?
What if every day you grab a coffee from Starbucks? That is $4.65 a day and $139.50 per month extra that you could be adding to your monthly payment. Do not think about sacrifices as such, but choices to help you reach a financially successful future. Stacey Flowers is a great entrepreneur who started her Youtube journey by attempting to pay off her student loan debt of over $100,000. She uses Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University to guide her plan to pay down debt and the budget to make more of an impact on what she owes.
4. Don’t attend college
One last way of solving the student debt crisis for future generations is choosing not to pursue higher education. This is a hard decision to make for some, but a no-brainer for others. Business is one field that may not require a degree to be successful. Even Google is now hiring people without college degrees because talent is not based on the score on the math exam but what you can do to make an impact.
There is not one path to college and definitely is not for financial success either. You decide what fits your life circumstance. The path may change as your income fluctuates, but don’t let student loan debt decide for you.