Is a Student Loan Worth Getting?

Student loans are very common in some countries, but in others, such as the UK, they are a fairly new thing. In either case, whether you should get a loan or not, is something which should be thought about really hard. Some people feel that being a student is well worth it, even if they have to pay for the privilege, whereas there are others that do not agree. Obviously it is all down to personal preference, but it is worth thinking hard about before you make that decision.

Firstly consider the reasons why you are doing the course. Consider whether those are reasons that are worth having to be in debt for. If you need the degree for the job that you want, then you may think that it is necessary to do it. Find out though whether it is possible to get that job without a degree in any other way and also whether there are any degree apprenticeships available which could help you to not need a loan when you are doing a degree. It may take longer that way but you will have paid work and a free course, which is very much more attractive than a loan for those concerned about being in debt although it will take a lot of hard work.

Of course, you may be doing a degree because you are interested in a particular subject and would like to study it further. Although this is exciting, it can be a very expensive way to learn more about a subject. With the Internet, books and magazines, you could probably teach yourself for a much lower cost and work at the same time.
Some people like the prestige of being able to say that they have a degree. Although this is understandable, there are more and more people getting degrees these days so they are not held in such high regard as they used to be. It is also a very expensive way to find something to feel good about. It could be better to see if there is something cheaper that you can do which will still give you the same feeling but without the cost.

Many people feel that it is the whole student lifestyle and experience that they want to do it for. It is also worth considering exactly what you mean by that and what you think it will give you. Moving out of home is something you could do anyway and find a job in order to finance it. You will still have the experience of being away from the family and could choose to move as far away as you want but if you have a job, you will be able to do it without getting a loan. It might be hanging out with peers, the intellectual conversation and studying together that you relish the thought of, but they rarely happen and you can do this with work colleagues as well.

One great thing about being a student is the lack of having a job. You can stay in education for another three years, normally without having to attend formally for more than a few hours a day. This is great fun and means that you can delay the 9-5 rat run for longer. However, once you do start work, you will be paying back your loan and this will mean that you will effectively be being paid less. This will happen for a long time and this could be a time when you want to save up for a deposit on a home, make mortgage repayments or even start a family and you may wish that you had more money.

Of course, you could work and earn the money for the cost of the degree and then pay for it, rather than borrowing the money. When loans first came out in the UK, it was felt it was better to borrow the money as the rates were low and you would probably not have to repay it all so you would gain from getting a loan. However, in the UK the rules on student loans have changed and they may again, so there is less certainty as to whether it will be cheaper to borrow the money than to pay it with savings now. This will also be different in other countries as well.

So it is worth thinking hard about whether you should get a loan or not. It could be better to earn the money and then pay for the course rather than borrowing the money. It could be worth looking for an apprenticeship where the course is paid for you or it could be better to forget it altogether and get a job instead. Of course, there will be lots of reasons why it could benefit you to borrow as you may get a job which has a much higher salary than you could get if you did not get the qualification. It is a big decision and one that you should spend a lot of time considering before you make it.

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