You may think college is necessary to land a good-paying job, but at what price? When Consumer Reports surveyed more than 1,200 people who left college with student loan debt, 45-percent said college was NOT worth the cost. In the Consumer Reports nationally representative survey of student loan borrowers, 44 percent said they’ve had to cut back on daily living expenses, about one-quarter have had to delay major financial goals like buying a house, and 12 percent have put off getting married.
So how do you avoid buyer’s remorse? Experts at Consumer Reports say it’s all in the planning.
To avoid scrambling to figure out how to pay for it all after graduation, have a plan to pay for college before you even apply.
First, Consumer Reports says, do some soul-searching. Ask yourself what you want to get out of college. College is an expensive place to figure out what you want to do with your life. The more years you spend, the more debt you may have to take on. If you’re not sure, consider options like taking a gap year.
Next, look at the cost and think about how much financial aid you can anticipate. A good rule of thumb is not to borrow more than you expect to earn in the first year after you graduate.
Another way to avoid debt is to start off at a community college and transfer to a four-year institution after a year or two. But make sure community college credits will transfer where you want to finish your degree.
Consumer Reports says there are ten key questions every family should discuss before a student applies to college.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.