Advice For Millennial Students: Quality Education Shouldn't Mean Crippling Debt

One of the most rapidly expanding forms of debt in the U.S. is student debt exceeding credit card debt in 2010, which is soon to pass the $1 trillion mark. It’s been engrained in our culture that if young students don’t earn a degree, they’ll never be able to find a good job. With a little research and common sense, people can realize that this is not as absolute as they may have been led to believe.

While education is important, there are ways to get a good degree without plunging yourself into massive debt. While no one should have to clear their dreams off the table, it’s important to be realistic about the obstacles that will inevitably be their path, as well as what can and cannot be done to get around them.

The average undergraduate leaves not only with a bachelor’s degree, but with over $25,000 in debt as well. Graduating from college typically represents the real beginning of a young adult’s life on their own. That’s one amazing roadblock to have placed in the path for what will be many graduates first time completely on their own.

People first have to realize that debt is their own, and that no one is going to come to their rescue. One of the most popular reoccurring themes of the “Occupy” movement has been that recent grads have wanted their tuition debt to be cut. The simple truth of the matter is that the government cannot afford to pay for a trillion dollars in student debt. Aside from the country’s financial troubles, it’s not the responsibility of government to pay off student loans.

While a college education is a great thing to have, it does invariably fall into the same category of auto insurance: people can survive without it. Having a college degree is not a birthright. 

Another thing to consider is that too much emphasis is placed on attending Ivy League schools. The average Harvard student can expect to pay an average of $185,000 over four years. Many people are starting to ask, for what? Most employers will tell you that at the end of the day, they care more that you just have a degree, and not where it came from. 

Yes it looks good to go to one of the best schools in the country; however there are many other schools that will allow you to earn the same degree at a fraction of the price. Any stigma over going to a state or community college to begin ones education should be forgotten about. There are many variations of so-called 2+2 programs, in which a student can take their core courses at the community college and move on to a state school to complete higher level courses, all the while having saved a great deal of money. (Scholarships and grants are also a great thing to be on the lookout for as well.) 

After all this, if you wish to go on and complete a master’s program or doctorate, make sure you ask yourself whether or not it is really necessary to obtain your dream job? If you can get to where you’re going without spending an extra twenty thousand, then why wouldn’t you? 

If you do need a higher degree, there are hundreds of accredited state and local schools which can provide such degrees for you while will look just as good on your resume. Higher up colleges would never dream of competing in prices, leaving them free to charge whatever they wish. 

Dreams can still be accomplished, but you shouldn’t have to risk so much debt to achieve it. 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Jesse Merkel

Jesse currently works as a Content Engineer for HubShout, LLC. In the past, he wrote about the political scene in his hometown of Rochester, NY for Examiner.com. Prior to becoming a writer, Jesse worked as a professional guitarist and private music instructor for over seven and a half years, while also volunteering on several local and national political campaigns. These days, Jesse enjoys writing about music, movies and pop culture, and is a die hard Trekker.

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