Think student loans can help you afford college? Think again. It’s a mistake to confuse access to financial tools, including student loans, with affordability.
What is a financial tool?
A student loan is a financial tool. A credit card is a financial tool. A check is a financial tool. Cash is a financial tool as well.
Financial tools, as necessary as they are, are limited in purpose:
- A financial tool allows you to pay your college expenses.
- A financial tool can not change the overall cost of earning your college degree.
Affordability (your overall cost of college) and your ability to graduate from college with a degree are far more in sync than your ability to take out student loans and your ability to graduate from college affordably. Student loans may allow you to enroll in a pricey school, but they don’t have any impact on the underlying tuition and fees. What you pay in tuition and fees, your actual cost of college, is what determines affordability.
Student loans can make graduating from college unaffordable.
Earning and financing a college degree is a highly personal endeavor. If you have unmanageable student loan debt upon graduation, your underlying cost of college was too high. Prior to taking out student loans, you need to get a handle on your overall cost of college. A degree plan can help you do just that.
An effective degree plan assesses the overall cost of college from initial enrollment until degree completion. It will force you to think twice about how much are willing (and able) to pay to earn a degree.
As you develop your degree plan, be sure to check out low-cost online college courses available through StraighterLine. Enrolling in StraighterLine online college courses, like college algebra and English composition, will enable you to earn credit for transfer as well as completely bypass taking those same courses at a school whose tuition you can afford only by taking out student loans.
Students who include StraighterLine in their degree plan can save over $15,000 on their overall cost of college. $15,000 that will never have to be paid back as part of a student loan obligation.
Reducing your overall cost of college – that is how you make college affordable.
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