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Affluent Investor | July 27, 2017

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Debt-Free Degree

It’s been said student debt is a product that has been sold to us with such repetition and intensity that most people believe they can’t live without.

My 19 year-old son attends community college, drives a 15 year old car, and lives at home. He could have attended a number of universities. But as, Andrew Josuweit, at Forbes.com, says “skipping community college can be a $20,000 mistake.”

According to the College Board, “of all students who completed a degree at a four-year institution in 2013-14 had enrolled at a two-year institution at some point in the previous 10 years.” The variety of tracks are appealing.

Vocational degrees grant skills and credentials for high-paying careers. From electrical work to graphic design, video technology and culinary arts, debt can be minimal if not totally avoided.

Associate’s degrees can be earned in 2 years allowing graduates to begin working in their field. Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce reported that 28% of those with associate’s degrees earn more than graduates with bachelor’s degrees.

The 2 plus 2 plan enables students to complete core requirements then transfer to another institution. Earning high GPAs, they can apply to 4-year schools they may not have qualified for previously with an opportunity for academic scholarships.

We now have 44.2 million Americans with student loan debt totaling $1.31 trillion.

The average monthly student loan payment for borrowers between 20 and 30 is $351. It’s debilitating for many.

Gaining knowledge at the cost of big debt must be weighed on the scale of reality.  One should not borrow more than he can expect to earn the first year out of school.

 

Originally published on Handwriting on the Wall.

Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown, a non-profit business and personal finance policy and educational organization, and author of “The S.A.L.T. Plan. How to Prepare for an Economic Crisis of Biblical Proportions” and “Root of Riches, What if everything you think about money is wrong?”

 

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