Student loan debt is usually not something you think about until you’re nearly done with college or even perhaps years after you’ve completed it. There are many people who look back with hindsight and think about how they could have done things differently to avoid debt and come out with a return on their college education investment, such as eliminating debt early on and living with disposable income.
Proverbs 22:7 says “The borrower is slave to the lender,” and many young people are feeling like slaves to their student loan companies at the very time of life they are trying to be independent. Want a Fresh Start says that, because of loans like these, many people are suffering from the harassment of debt collectors—sometimes for years.
While the cost of college has risen and may not be coming down anytime soon, there are still ways you can avoid student loan debt or pay off loans that you do owe even without student loan forgiveness. You still may want to look into student loan forgiveness if worse comes to worst, but for now we’ll focus on other ways without going down that route.
Choose Your Degree Wisely
Proverbs 16:16 says “How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.” This verse is so true; your degree will pay off more than putting that same amount of money in an investment account—IF it is a marketable degree! Ecclesiastes 12:12 cautions, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.” If you’re going to be “wearying the body” by pursuing a degree, it had better be one that will pay off financially! One reason college debt is a nagging problem for some is that they don’t choose a field of study that’s going to have a lot of job openings.
As Christian financial expert Dave Ramsey points out on his radio show, sometimes there’s the allure of fields of study that end up leading to nowhere upon graduation. If you’re going to eliminate your student debt, you need to be looking at which fields are in high demand that companies want to see more graduates coming into. If you can find a degree that has job demands and pays well, chances are you’ll pay off your student loans much quicker.
Have An Exit Plan For Four Years Or Less
Along with choosing the right degree, you want to make sure you’re not going to be stuck in the continual cycle of college life. You want to have a clear strategy to complete your degree fast and not have to worry about graduate school in the short run. At some point graduate and eventually postgraduate school may come into play, but you’re better off getting on your feet in the job world and doing so quickly since it means less debt.
Alternatives and Scholarships
Another great idea is to consider other colleges besides large universities because their tuition is much cheaper and their study programs are usually shorter than four years. If nothing else, you should consider going to them for one or two years and then transferring courses so you pay much less at a larger university. And you should also look into as many scholarship applications as possible because there are so many out there that can tremendously cut down your college costs.
Ultimately avoiding debt in college isn’t always easy, but it can be done if you plan it out right and stick to your goals. Even if you’ve already accumulated student debt, it’s not too late to start working at eliminating it if you go at it right. Sometimes you just simply need to make a few sacrifices here and there or take on a few more gigs to supplement your income. But always have a clear goal for debt elimination in mind.
For more Bible-inspired information and inspiration, subscribe to Faithfully Magazine.