Hope for your financial life and beyond

The Hidden College Debt Statistics You Never Hear About

The cost of college continues to expand with each passing year. With it, so does the amount of student loans being processed. It’s leading to an alarming amount of college debt that is hamstringing the life of graduates.

college debtBy now I’m sure you’ve heard the alarming student loan statistics. Americans now owe over $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. For the class of 2016, the average borrower will owe just over $37,000, a figure that is up 6% from last year.

But those are just your basic top line college debt statistics. They are the most visible numbers but they don’t tell the whole story. There are some hidden statistics (i.e. not usually reported) that highlight what this college debt is doing to students later in life. They show that virtually every decision in life can be impacted by college debt.

How College Debt Impacts Your Life

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How to Choose A College So You Don’t Waste Money On Tuition

You may have noticed recently the federal government stepped in to help 18-year-olds with one of the biggest decisions of their lives – how to choose the right college. Although you don’t necessarily need a college education to have a successful career, the U.S. Department of Education estimates that a college graduate will earn one million dollars more on average over their lifetime when compared to someone with only a high school diploma. That figure alone makes attending college a worthwhile consideration.

college fund jarBut what college should you attend when there are thousands to choose from? Enter President’s Obama’s Consumer Reports-styled College Scorecard. It’s an initiative headed by the Dept. of Education where, “You’ll be able to see how much each school’s graduates earn, how much debt they graduate with, and what percentage of a school’s students can pay back their loans,” the President noted in a recent radio address.

The scorecard tool offers much more information than that however. Prospective students can input a college name into the site and receive all kinds of useful information about the school’s program. Among other things, potential schools can be sorted by location, size, degrees offered. The site is receiving rave reviews as the latest advancement in helping students choose the right college.

You will have to take some steps to make your college decision an easier one. There is simply too much money at stake for you to make the wrong choice. Here are the three most important things you can do.

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Attention 9th Graders: Some Focus Right Now Will Make You Rich

Thought I would perform a public service announcement today for the freshman out there starting high school this fall. I don’t have any good tips on how to avoid getting stuffed in your locker or fighting off that wedgie as you change after gym class. You might just have to endure those things…such is the right of passage into high school.

dissecction in biology

Focus – Work Hard – Be Rich

What I’d rather do is snap your mind into place as you start taking classes and get you thinking about the future.

Sound boring? Listen, I get it. The last thing you probably want to think about right now is studying for a literature test. And those Algebra I problems…ugh! When are you ever going to use that in real life?

I’m not going to try and convince you of the practical uses of Algebraic principles once you graduate high school. What I do want you to know is that your approach to Algebra (and all your other classes) has huge implications for your future. In fact, what you do right now – this 9th grade year – could eventually make you rich.

The Two Biggest Challenges of High School

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This Is What Happens When You Don’t Pay Back Student Loans

Student loans have helped many pay for the expenses of a college education. Of course you need to pay back student loans those even if you don’t graduate. Fortunately student loans have what’s known as a grace period – a set time after you graduate, leave school or drop below full-time student status before the loan repayment begins. The grace period gives you time to find a job or deal with a difficult life issue before you have to pay back the student loan.

pay back student loansIf you can’t or choose not to pay back student loans, you risk going into default. To default on a loan means you did not pay it back on schedule according to the terms of the promissory note ­– the legal document you signed when you received the loan.

The good news is you don’t have to panic if you miss one payment. Going into default won’t happen right away. If you miss a few payments your student loan will first be tagged with a delinquent status. It won’t officially go into default until 270 days have passed without a payment.

At that point, you will face some serious consequences. The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid office lists these possible actions that may be taken if you default on your student loan:

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The 10 Best Summer Jobs for Teens and College Students

Memorial Day marks the official beginning of summer. For teens and college students that means one of three things. Either you are:

a) continuing school by choice (to get ahead) or out of necessity (because you failed)…

b) looking for a summer job to earn money or…

c) in for a really boring summer sleeping in and playing video games.

(I know…some of you think “C” is the best option of the three.)

summer jobs for teensBut I also know teens and college students need money. You have lots of expenses, many of which your parents can’t or don’t want to fully fund. So it’s about time you begin to support yourself my working a summer job.

What job would fit your time frame though? You really only have three months to work as the typical school ends in May/June and returns to classes in August/September. Won’t employers be hesitant to hire you if they know it will only be for three short months?

Some might be. Others however, rely on the seasonal influx of workers because summer is their busiest time of the year. So the fact that you are only available for three months matches up with the increased seasonal activity of that position. The employer will be fine when you leave the job to return to school in the fall because he or she won’t need your help anymore.

Jobs You Could Easily Find During the Summer

To that end, here are 10 great summer jobs for teens and college students. In all these areas, employers will be looking for workers during the summer:

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Secret Advice For Teenagers Who Love to Spend Money

You know who you are…teenager who loves to spend money like it’s going out of style. You spend money faster than it takes a snapchat to disappear. Money comes into your hand one minute and it flows out like water the next.

spend moneyAnd you like it that way!

If that’s you, I have some special advice today. It’s unusual, maybe even secret advice you may never have heard in your life. In fact, I’m actually running a huge risk by even sharing this with you. Your parents may hate me for saying this because it might go against how they have instructed you to handle money. (That alone should excite you to listen up, right?)

But before I reveal this big secret about spending your money, you have to promise me something.

The promise I’m asking you to make is to read this entire post. You are going to love what I have to say about spending money but you can’t take it as stand alone advice without understanding the bigger picture. As they say, the devil is in the details so I’m asking for five minutes of your time to help you avoid failure on this issue.

Ready for the big, secret advice? OK, here goes…

Go ahead and spend money because you’ll never know a time with fewer financial obligations than you have right now.

Now remember that promise to read the rest of the post? Good…because I’ve got some serious cleaning up to do with the mess I just created.

Six Possible Reasons You Love to Spend Money

Have you ever thought about why you love to spend money? Don’t fret if it’s never crossed your mind. Most adults haven’t considered it either.

Based on your age right now (ages 13-19) one of these issues is likely driving you to spend money all the time:

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What Is An Undergraduate Degree and Do I Need One?

You may have heard the term undergraduate degree thrown around from time to time. It’s not meant to be a confusing term but it could be, especially for a high school student. “What degree would I be earning where I am under a graduate?” you may be asking yourself.

what is an undergraduate degreeThe term undergraduate has nothing to do with where your body is physically positioned or your rank in relation to other graduates. But it does have something to do with what you earn. It’s actually better known by a much simpler term — a college degree.

Undergraduate Degree Defined

An undergraduate degree is any academic degree you might get at an institute of higher education, such as a college or university. It’s a program of study traditionally taken after high school that leads to an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree.

It’s called an undergraduate degree to differentiate the type of degree. You will seek your Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree first after high school. Then, if you want to continue, you will proceed to graduate level studies. These are known as Master’s and Doctorate degrees.

So the progression of schooling typically looks like this:

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Should I Save For Retirement or the Kid’s College First?

I’m a very linear person. I default to moving in a chronological order, doing things step by step according to a predetermined plan. So it’s confusing when trying to decide whether to save for retirement first or our kid’s college.

save for retirementOn the one hand, it’s been drilled into me that saving for retirement is important. However, I know the costs of college tuition are increasing every year with no end in sight. I’d love for my kids to graduate from college debt free and feel an obligation as a parent to help with some of my own money to make that happen.

The thinking goes that college is a nearer-term goal than retirement. That fits with a linear life narrative. Prepare for the financial situations that are coming sooner and push off financial decisions that can be made later. For most people, college costs will come before retirement costs so shouldn’t we be focusing on that first?

It seems logical to prepare for college first but I’m going to suggest today that we should do the illogical. The exact opposite should happen. Save for retirement first and college second.

Why to Save for Retirement First

There are four major reasons why we should save for retirement before college:

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Saving Money Throughout College

Enjoy this guest post today from my blogging friend Glen at www.howtosavemoney.guru.

glasses and highlighter resting on bookAs Brian has been talking all things college lately, I thought I would chime in with my own take on how college students can save money.

Avoid borrowing more money than you need

When I was first told that people in the US borrow money to go and live on campus (essentially borrowing to pay rent), I actually couldn’t believe it. Not only that, but my friend (who is from the US) told me that it is common place for students to do this.

I live in Australia, and while there certainly isn’t as many colleges to choose from as there are in the USA, the idea of getting a loan to pay for accommodation close to college just wasn’t an option.

Instead, I decided that I would attend a local college and utilize the public transport system to get to and from my classes. I had to plan my journey to fit within the transport timetable, but I also saved so much money.

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Does God Want Me To Attend College?

Hidden Nuggets Series #54 – “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” – Luke 2:52

should i go to collegeI’m wrapping up my series on college this week with a rather odd question, something that a high school junior or senior might be asking – “Should I go to college and does God care?” Mom and dad sure have made it clear they think it’s important as they’ve been pounding the table for months to get those applications finished. What about God? Does He even have an opinion on college?

To those with no religious inclination this may seem silly. Why consult a higher power at all about a non-spiritual issue like whether to or where to attend college? I understand that line of thinking.

However, for those like myself with a relationship with God it’s huge for several reasons.

Should I Go to College?

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20 Flexible Part Time Jobs For College Students

I’m continuing my college theme week with a look today at flexible, part time jobs for college students and how they can help bring in some extra spending money.

part time jobs for college students As I pointed out in my last post, there are so many hidden costs of college for which students don’t prepare. More than likely they have figured out how to finance college tuition, fees, and room and board. However, those little incidental items they spend money on can certainly add up and cause a dent in the wallet. So, unless an endless stream of cash is flowing from mom and dad, students will need to secure some extra spending money.

The big question though is, what part time jobs can reasonably be done by college students? Yes, you could work a full-time job and attend classes but that’s not what most students are looking for (or really need). The average student just wants enough spending money to go to parties, put gas in the car and pay for their books (maybe in that order).

With that in mind, here is a list of 20 part-time jobs and activities that could earn a college student a little bit of extra spending money.

Part Time Jobs for College Students: On Campus

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