I’d be lying if I said I enjoy paying for my student loans. I’m facing a $50,000 price tag and a 20-year repayment plan. It hurts to think about other things I could do with $50,000. And it’s beyond frustrating to realize I could still be paying while potentially sending my future kids to school.
Even still, I’m glad I had to take out student loans. Sound crazy? It just might be. Nevertheless, I’ve come to understand that having student loan debt isn’t all bad.
Why I’m actually glad I had to take out student loans
1. My student loans have afforded me opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise
I strongly believe that college is an investment. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my education – and I wouldn’t have that education without loans.
That said, the college investment should be made within reason. I made sacrifices to keep my loans as low as possible. I lived with my parents and chose a local school instead of one of my dream universities. Just because something is an investment doesn’t mean the cost shouldn’t be kept in check.
The first career-oriented job I ever had required a college degree, even though it was entry-level. But getting in the door there was huge for me. It gave me work experience that led me to the job of my dreams and steadily increasing pay.
And you know what, I didn’t study something practical to make it happen. I followed my heart and majored in English, knowing full well the tough road I’d be in for. But I’ll never regret it. I loved my classes and my course work. My professors challenged me in ways I’d never been challenged in my education. And I use much of what I learned in my work every day.
What’s really interesting here is that I’m not alone in seeing the payoff from my degree. In a recent study run by Pew Research Center, the results showed that “college graduates ages 25 to 32 who are working full time earn more annually – about $17,500 more – than employed young adults holding only a high school diploma.” This same study goes on to show that the picture of unemployment is much different for the college-educated. According to the study, college graduates are “significantly less likely to be unemployed (3.8% vs. 12.2%).”
In a post-recession era, low unemployment is just as important as a good salary.
2. My student loans forced me to take my education seriously
Remember those sacrifices I mentioned to keep my loans low? Another was taking out the smallest amount possible. That meant I had no help with living expenses.
If I wanted to buy books, have a car to get me to and from class, and be able to eat, I had to work. There were times when I wished more than anything that I could completely focus on my studies without having to work. But in the end, I’m glad I didn’t.
Working while going to school gave me skills outside of the classroom that I still use to this day. Whenever my work schedule feels out of control, I remember sleepless nights of writing papers. I also remember squeezing in homework when the restaurant I worked at was slow. And after years of waiting tables, juggling internships, and tackling a six-course load every semester, I knew I could put “multitasking” on my resume and back it up.
Not having a free ticket to school forced me to engage more deeply in my classes. It’s pretty hard to justify slacking off when you face that bill every semester. My loans help me appreciate my education more. I value every class I took because I know exactly what it cost me.
3. Having student loans helped me build credit
At a time in my life when I didn’t realize it was important, my student loans helped me build credit. Since student loans show up on your credit report, they’re an easy way to build credit at a young age. While costly, they don’t come with the high interest of a credit card.
If you have student loans and are afraid they might hurt your credit, remember that one of the biggest factors in your credit score is payment history. Make those payments on time every month and your loans can actually help you.
Bright side and all, I’m still working to knock them out ASAP
Okay, love letter to my education and the debt I had to take on to get it aside, let’s not forget that student loan debt is expensive. And the longer you keep it, the more expensive it gets.
That’s why I can balance my gratitude with a healthy vengeance towards the interest rates I pay on my loans. I’ll have these bright sides to fall back on as long as I have my loans. Still, I’m going to try and beat that 20-year repayment plan so I can start using my money for new goals.
In the end, I guess that’s what growing up is about. There are always going to be things in life that are simultaneously awesome and horrible. When I search for the benefits of the things that stress me out, I can turn that stress into something more productive and tackle the bad parts head-on.
Want help figuring out how you can beat your repayment schedule? Read our ultimate guide to paying off student loans faster!
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.57% – 6.98%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.80% – 6.22%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.57% – 8.17%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|