How To Avoid Taking On Too Much Student Debt

By Martin B February 5, 2023

As students begin receiving college acceptance letters, it is crucial for families to carefully consider the amount of student debt they are willing to take on. Experts recommend that students avoid borrowing more than they expect to earn as a starting salary in their chosen field and research the average salaries for their intended career path.

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This rule of thumb can help students make informed decisions about their borrowing, as taking on too much debt can have serious consequences that extend far beyond their college years.

According to higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz, taking on too much debt can limit a person’s ability to pursue other priorities, such as buying a home or pursuing a career that aligns with their goals. His research also shows that those who borrow more tend to experience more stress related to their debt, which can have negative impacts on their overall well-being.

To avoid taking on too much debt, the expert recommends that families consider the “net price” of attending different colleges, which takes into account the amount of aid that does not need to be repaid, such as grants and scholarships.

Families should also keep in mind that the cost of attendance can vary from year to year, and they should factor in any grants or scholarships that may only be available for the first year or two.

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Students who find that all the colleges they applied to would require them to borrow too much should consider other options. Many schools still accept applications after May 1, and the National Association for College Admission Counseling usually publishes a list of colleges with space still available.

Finally, students should be cautious about relying on any potential student loan forgiveness programs. Experts caution that even if such a program were to be implemented, it is not guaranteed that all loans would be forgiven.

Students should only borrow what they can reasonably afford to repay, and they should carefully consider the long-term implications of their borrowing decisions. By doing so, they can make informed choices about where to attend college and how much debt to take on.