Is the student loan industry hazing college students?

April 29, 2009

By J.D. Wyczalek (why-zall-ick) Arizona’s premier college planner

Phoenix -- Did you read the article in the StarTribune today?

The last paragraph of the article in the StarTribune states "Nothing is too shocking in terms of student loans," said Paul Raymond, a Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota financial counselor who advises students at the U. "It's not a surprise to have $60,000.00-plus dollars in [student] loans."

It is a crime and travesty that newly graduated students are saddled with umpteen thousands of dollars of debt. Forced into debt because of poor planning or lack of understanding of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.

Are we in the process of creating a generation that will be enslaved to debt? Yes! Credit card debt is out of control as more and more college student turn to credit cards to pay for books and supplies.

What can we do about it? Learn all you can about how the financial aid system works and leverage your situation so that you can qualify for as much financial aid as possible. Educate your children about how credit and debt work.

Option one: find a cheaper school. (Less expensive may not really be cheaper if the college’s historical giving and finical aid pattern is poor.)
Option two: learn the rules or hire a professional who knows the rules. Beware of swindlers who don’t have you and your student’s best interest at heart and are looking to make a quick commission dollar.
Option three: Don’t go to college. “Workers with bachelor’s degrees earned an average of $26,000 more per year than those with only high-school diplomas, according to a new report on education trends released today by the U.S. Census Bureau,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

If you truly know the (financial aid) rules you can legally and ethically stack the deck in your favor.

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