Debt is a trap, especially student debt, which is enormous, far larger than credit card debt. It's a trap for the rest of your life because the laws are designed so that you can't get out of it. If a business, say, gets in too much debt, it can declare bankruptcy, but individuals can almost never be relieved of student debt through bankruptcy. – Noam Chomsky
When I think back to obtaining my Bachelor of Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder in Journalism and English Literature in 2006, I calculated that I spent more than $30,000 on my college education, and thankfully I only took a small student loan my junior or senior year, which I paid off the entire remaining balance of about $3,500 before leaving on my one-way global adventure. Therefore, even though I've been away from the United States for more than three-years–with the exception of a brief stint traveling from Central America to South East Asia via Los Angeles for a few days–I still try and keep up with what's going on in the news, and of course one topic that really surprised me was reading that student loan debt in the United States has now surpassed $1 trillion dollars, and the average student loan debt is close to $30,000 per individual! This, of course, made me feel extremely sad for those that may carry this financial ball and chain for not only the rest of their life, but will be passed down to other family members. There was a recent poll by the nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling (#ACCC) that found that an astounding 77% of those surveyed had an outstanding student debt of some amount, this is listed from the large infographic below. I wanted to share with others HOW I was able to avoid majoring in debt, and even though some of the things that I did may not be an option for you, it is something to consider before filling out that FAFSA or applying for student loans, from whatever financial institution they are being offered from. According to the Wall Street Journal the, "CFPB (from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) officials say student debt is rising for several reasons, including a surge in Americans going to college in recent years to escape the weak labor market. Also, tuition increases—which many colleges say are needed to offset big cuts in state funding—have many students taking out bigger loans."
1) Choose an in-state school to avoid out-of-state costs.
2) As much as you may want the so-called 'true college experience' by beginning at a four-year University, consider attending a local community college BUT only focus on the prerequisites that WILL typically transfer to a four-year University. I'll admit that I took an Intro to Architecture course that was 6-credits, a lot of work, expensive textbooks and materials and when I transferred to CU Boulder NONE of this was accepted. Therefore, it was a lesson learned of time and money wasted.
2) What will you do you if don't complete your degree?
3) Is your degree field a viable financial option upon completing your degree when considering paying back the student loans?
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Returning on a red-eye flight from Cambodia, the sun is still rising through the giant plate-glass windows of Incheon International Airport. Even thought I am exhausted from a lack of sleep on the flight, I know that I have a relatively busy day in front of me. However, even fighting through the exhaustion ... (*will finish and repost on 4/22*)