Pay for Courses When You Can Afford Them
One of the best ways to avoid student debt is to pay for courses as you can afford them. Many students overlook this option for three reasons:
1. It will take you longer to complete your studies.
2. It can be frustrating to have to put your future career on hold.
3. The perceived loss of income – the money you would have otherwise earned had you completed your studies on a full-time basis.
While there are advantages of completing a program on a full-time basis there is also the reality of the interest you will have to pay on the total debt. In the end, it becomes a cost-benefit analysis for each student. There’s no question that pursuing courses as you can afford them will leave you debt free or with a significantly reduced debt load.
Balancing work and school is more important than you may think. In an effort to graduate debt free and complete their program in a normal time frame, many students make the mistake of working too many hours while maintaining a high course load. This often has dire consequences. The most notable consequence is the rate at which students burn out. Burnout can result in poor academic performance, even failure, and consequently the need to repeat courses. In many cases, students pay to repeat failed courses by working as many or even more hours than they were before. This cycle often continues until graduation.
In the end, these students graduated debt free but they have also:
- worked far more hours and paid more tuition while failing and recording many low grades because of a lack of balance between work and school
- compromised the integrity of their academic record and unintentionally limited their admission to professional and graduate studies
- put their mental and physical health at risk
Students who decide to work while attending school need to accept the possibility of taking longer to complete their program while maintaining their academic record, their bank account and their mental health.
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