Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

No More Student Loans

No More Student Loans

Getting a part-time job helps pay for tuition.

So you’ve decided to go back to school. Whether you’re upgrading your current skill set, learning something new for a new career path, or simply pursuing the joy of learning, congratulations! You have embarked on a rewarding and expensive path.

Oh, that’s right, expensive. Forgot that part, didn’t you? And if that wasn’t enough, post-secondary schooling is also time-consuming. So, not only will you need more money, you will have less time to earn it. That has led many prospective students to the promise of easy money from student loans.

But beware: student loans can cripple you for years to come.

While these loans pay for books and keep you afloat while you study, the weight of their burden on your career afterwards can be downright depressing. A few years at school can lead to paying back loans for the next decade. But what can you do? These bills have to be paid.

If you’re currently employed, one option is to talk to your boss about staying on while you go to school. This might mean taking one less course, per semester, so class doesn’t eat up too much time every day. But, if you can sell your boss on how your personal improvement will benefit the company, you might be able to work out a compromise that will allow you to stay on board. This means, of course, a lot more dedication from you, and some nifty time management skills. But, if you’re up for the challenge, it might mean you can skip the resignation letter and make enough to pay your way through. If you really sell it, you might even be able to talk your company into paying for some of your courses, if they apply directly to your job.

Another option is the part time job. Sadly, this usually means working a ton of hours for much less pay, making just enough to pay the bills, with just enough left for your courses and second-hand textbooks. This is, by far, the toughest way to go. You will find yourself with practically no free time, no spare money, and no left-over energy. But if you can slog it out, you will be able to breathe a huge sigh of relief when you finish with no huge debts to pay off.

Of course, there are situations where a student loan is your best option available. For those who simply cannot find suitable work with the heft of their course load, the debt they’ll accrue is counterbalanced by the opportunity to go to school at all. Without going, there might be no debt, but there would be no opportunity for the higher-paying job that requires that degree in the first place.

So before you sign a student loan application, take a good hard look at your job, and your situation. You may find carrying a bit more weight now, may save you carrying a ton later.

Trevor Prosser
Author: Trevor Prosser
Trevor is a mature student attending a Canadian university while working full time and writing for a number of projects in whatever spare time might be left over.
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