Finish College Quick or Free of Debt?

Let’s be honest - paying for college is far from simple. Balancing classes and work as well as how much you borrow financially can determine how fast you graduate.

student loans

In this type of situation, there are definitely two sides to the coin. Graduating debt-free means taking longer to finish college because you’ll probably need to work full-time while only attending a few classes at a time per semester. On the other hand, attending college full-time goes hand in hand with higher student loans due to the lack of working hours.

If you’re trying to decide between graduating debt-free or finishing college as quickly as possible, you may want to consider the factors listed in the following article. 

Attending College and Working

If you’re looking to graduate from college with the least possible standing debt, then your best bet is probably to work while attending school. Many individuals choose to work full-time employment while only attending a few college courses throughout the semester. This option is ideal if your yearly salary will increase once you obtain your degree, notably so if you’re already caring for and supporting a family.

Certain employers offer to pay tuition costs in exchange for credited hours each semester. Such offers may require that you work for said company over a period of several years post-graduation, thus allowing you to attend more classes.

Keep in mind that working and going to school simultaneously is a great option for some, but less for others. Work and school combined can be rather stressful and if you aren’t reaching your scholarly objectives necessary to obtaining your diploma, you might want to concentrate solely on your classes instead. 

College & Work: A Little Advice

1. Determine how much you need to make monthly by noting all your current financial responsibilities as well as your new financial obligations that will come with school.

2. Do your best to obtain a well-paid job because this will reduce your amount of needed working hours in order to cover all your expenses.

3. Look at different schooling options: Remote courses, night classes, and groups that only meet once a week are all legitimate options that will allow you to get more working hours into your day.

4. As a working student, we already know you’ll be juggling a lot. Make sure to take advantage of your school services such as study groups, tutors, and recuperation time with your professors. 

Full-Time College with Student Loans

Commonly, college students will attend class full-time while relying on student loans to cover the scholarly expenses. This option is most often justified with a shorter college duration. The less time you spend actually getting your diploma, the less costs you will accumulate along the way.

When making the decision to apply or not for student loans, you’ll want to take a look at your future debt to income ratio. If you’re in need of tens of thousands of dollars in loans in order to graduate with a minimum wage job, you may want to reconsider your options. That being said, if your future employment will promise a six-figure salary, then applying for the loans shouldn’t generally be an issue. 

How to Decrease Debt

- If you’re solely a student, try picking up as many classes as you can handle in one single semester. The faster you graduate, the less debt you will incur.

- You’ve probably heard people say that college students are cheap - well there’s a reason for that! Reduce your expenses as much as possible while studying. Certain individuals even continue living with their parents or family in order to cut costs.

- Sure, school loans are common but make sure you take the time to apply for bursaries, scholarships or grants that may help cover your schooling fees.

- When on break from school, such as around Christmas time and during summer vacation, consider working full time, or even more than one job in order to save up as much as possible before going back for another college semester, thus reducing the sum you need to borrow overall. 

Find Your Balance

Everyone is different and all students handle stress in their own way. The key factor is finding the right balance for your unique situation and needs. Certain people have an easier time juggling work and school simultaneously than others; but there isn’t a right or wrong option.

No matter what you choose, you’ll want to respect a tight college budget all while keeping your scholarly costs as low as possible. Your future employment should be enough to cover the loans and debt you incur during your college years.