Dear Confused Student,
So you were accepted into a prestigious college or university with an exuberant price tag that is prompting you to consider student loans because you have the unfortunate burden of paying for your college education as a result of circumstances beyond your control. Lucky for you, I have been there and have excellent wisdom to impart on you before you sign your life away on those papers. I had the choice between the local state university for free, the University of Michigan, or Villanova University. My first choice was Michigan. I applied as soon as I could and waited by the mailbox my entire senior spring for the letter of acceptance. I was accepted on March 11. It was snowing and I spent the afternoon celebrating with friends. I remember the day well and still have the letter somewhere. The following package from them was not as exciting because it included the bill for non-residents. Villanova was option number two and the cheaper choice, so it seemed. I didn't even consider the local state school. I applied for loans and worked two jobs through the four years to pay for my Villanova education. My dad was wearing a Villanova sweatshirt at the airport in Boston one April day when he was dropping my sister off to come visit me. A strange man approached them and asked if she was the Villanovan. My dad told him it was his other daughter. The man told my dad not to worry that he would get back more than ten times what he put into obtaining that education. It is not looking good at the moment but I sincerely hope that man was right.
So a word to those students struggling with the difficult decision. Pay for your undergraduate education and if you absolutely have to, borrow for your graduate and professional education. In my humble opinion, the financial decision to borrow for an undergraduate education is not worth it. I know it might be biased of me to make that decision and I have time to rectify my situation, but the limitations to what I can do overwhelm me at times, especially on Tuesday afternoons when I have to argue with the lady at Sallie Mae. I believe the hassle and burden are not worth it. I do not regret attending Villanova, and I would probably do it again because I am stupid like that but I do not recommend it for anyone because sometimes I think my undergraduate education (even at two Bachelor of Science degrees for the price of one) was over-priced and overrated. While having a renowned name on a piece of paper (or two) might seem like the ultimate pat on the back, those monthly bills can be staggering and seem endless. The most important thing for you to consider is getting the education and not necessarily the name on the piece of paper. So think twice before you sign yours to obtain a degree from an expensive university when you can have a free education that will give you much more freedom to move about the world after all is said and done.
Concerned College Graduate with Student Loans