Let’s first congratulate those recent high school graduates who just received their high school diploma. Many, including those having low incomes, are planning to finance their continuing education with ‘student loans’ to augment family funds and scholarship awards. Currently an estimated 44 million individuals used student loans to pay for their education. Student loan debt amounts to $1.2 trillion which exceeds national credit card debt. Therefore , it is important that an individual aspiring to attend college realize that he/she needs a customized educational business plan. The objective of that plan is to ‘know before your owe”, as well as to define costs of acquiring the knowledge and skills of your future chosen profession. It is especially important for low-income families to encourage their kids to accept that they are ‘in business’. It is in their personal best interest to do the comprehensive 5 year plan projections required. This planning effort will assist in identifying options having lower costs.
One such option is to attend a local community college for the first two years (@ $6,000 per year) prior to transferring to a university costing much more. Today, this does not happen often because high school career counseling was reduced or eliminated due to school budget shortfalls. Also, it is not always necessary to attend an elite prestigious university because the same knowledge can be had at lower cost public institutions. Future employers are more interested in your ability ‘’to perform’ rather than the prestigious degree you have earned at a higher cost.
Another option is to devise your own personal ‘work-study’ plan which would enable you to earn your professional degree over seven years on a ‘Pay as you go’ basis. Many promising careers can be accessed in this manner. Check out professional associations and unions for their internship programs and paid apprenticeships (electricians, plumbers, carpenters, & construction trades). In the bio-medical field there now exists many careers which did not exist 20 years ago. Examples are Renal Dialysis Technologists; Biomedical Electronic engineering; Human geneticists, etc. Youth need to be encouraged to google information about any career online. Also know that some educational programs are online already free. One such highly regarded effort is the Kahn Academy which presents online programs which teach mathematics, physics, and other academic instructional programs.
Many high school students have been encouraged to go on to college after their high school graduation. Too many students , from families who have modest incomes and no prior college attendance experience, have been encouraged to consider attending a university ‘even if you have to borrow the money’ because ‘student loans’ are available. Many of these student loan debts were acquired without adequate prior planning nor knowledge of the ‘payback requirements’. Many of these loans were made by banks, at no risk, because of federal backup programs. Many jobs in business and commerce can be learned on the job.
In California, a total of $103.4 billion in student loans is the debt burden that 4 million former students bear. This amounts to an average personal debt of $25,850 which may prevent a young person from buying a home or planning to start a family. Life altering decisions are impacted. Some economists are concerned that these student loans prevent individuals from fully participating in the local consumer economy, since monthly loan payments do not enter the consumer spending revenue stream.
The U.S. Senate recently blocked legislation sponsored by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) which would have permitted refinancing existing student loans at lower interest rates (3.8%). Republican Senators rejected this proposed legislation because of the modest income tax increase for the wealthy. President Obama announced a plan to cap student loan repayment plans at 10% of the adjusted gross discretionary income per year. This ‘Pay As You Earn’ executive order plan forgives the loan after 20 years OR alternatively, after 10 years if the individual works for a nonprofit organization or is a public civil servant. To learn more go to ‘studentaid.ed.gov’.
Carefully evaluate the ‘for-profit’ academies which exist today before you commit to their educational programs and their costs. Look into the ‘hiring rate’ of their graduates with their degrees and certificates. Before buying these programs, exercise your due diligence.
Individuals who have acquired multidisciplinary knowledge have employment/career advantages. Adopt ‘Pay as you go’ so as to not be responsible for debts which enslave you by limiting your career choices. Your personal educational financial planning will really help you achieve without becoming severely indebted.