Thursday, October 6, 2011

Avoiding College Debt

I write today with a sense of victory!  God blessed me to successfully rid my home of an unwanted visitor: a lizard!  My husband was doing some work outside Tuesday, and unfortunately, with the coming and going in and out of the house, the little lizard inadvertently made his way into our home.  My husband was unable to get him out, so the lizard hung out in our study for a couple of days.  My husband was gone today, so I had screamed a few times as I walked into the study.  Yesterday, the lizard was actually sitting on the warm computer screen.  Try as I might, I couldn't get the lizard with a crab net we had as our only means of catching him.  Finally, he made his way onto my desk chair while I had the door open.  I took the whole chair outside, while my second daughter was cheering me on.  "Good idea, Mommy!" she cried.

Anyhoo, I'm feeling good.

I wanted to write today to high school girls in particular.  There was the petition going around on Facebook (actually I only saw it on one friend's page), but it was encouraging people to sign for the president to consider forgiving federal college loans as a means to stimulate the economy.  Do huh? 

Proverbs 22:7 says, "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender".

We do well to avoid debt as much as is possible or we risk being a slave to the lender.  This might mean that the majority of our paychecks in the first few years following college graduation goes to the lending agencies, the government in many cases.

I'm not writing in an effort to encourage or discourage the idea proposed to forgive the college loans, though it is obvious I believe it to be a poor option.  What I would like to do instead is encourage young women to look at all their options before signing on for any college loans.

Consider your life goals.  A few years ago, a friend started an e-mail thread amongst several of us whose husbands had attended the same seminary.  She wanted to know how we should advise young women about career and college goals.  There were many interesting thoughts shared about biblical womanhood and how God does or doesn't use our college and career experience as we live out those roles.  One point that stuck out to me personally was that many of us were indeed using our education in our homes as wives and mothers, but that some of us also felt (as did I) that if we'd had a different type of degree, we might could still use it for pay while primarily staying home with our children.  For example, if I'd done cosmetology, I could set my own hours and work from home.  Or, the medical field provides numerous opportunities to work one day a week or for a small number of hours within a month, enabling a woman to even be able to provide medical insurance for her family without an exorbitant amount of time outside the home.  If you primarily want to be home with your children or want to be your husband's helper more than anything, consider your options before you go to college.

Don't discredit technical colleges.  These can either be a jumping off point toward earning your bachelors degree eventually or you could begin your career sooner after spending less money.  Again, back to the medical field again - many positions there pay more money than positions in other fields.  Less money out of pocket initially with potentially a larger paycheck later.  Many employers, in many fields, want skilled employees rather than employees with big time degrees. 

Put the pedal to the medal.  Choose a major and stick with it.  OK, OK, yes God could lead you down a different path than you had planned.  Jumping from track to track could you cost you.  Some of the classes you had previously taken may not apply to the new degree program, and it might take you longer to get your degree than you originally intended.   Then, all of those scholarships you earned will most likely run out after four years of full-time classes.  You can take more than twelve hours at a time if you are a "traditional" student.  Trust me.  I had a higher GPA with twenty hours than I ever did with sixteen (the minimum I ever took at once).  For me, knowing I had to stay on top of it, forced me to manage my time better and be about the business of studying.

Pray and seek scholarships and grants.  God will provide for wherever He's leading you.

If you have to take loans, do the right thing and pay them off in due fashion.  Don't count on anyone to bail you out.

1 comment:

Allan Morais said...

The last part where you wrote, “If you have to take loans, do the right thing and pay them off in due fashion”, is a hundred percent agreeable. If you are able to maintain a good credit with your loan, you wouldn’t have any legal issues in the future. You also won’t have any problems in applying for future loans. And, your debt will not skyrocket to figures that seem impossible to pay. Always remember to be responsible on how you use your hard-earned cash.

Allan Morais