Is Borrowing for College Worthwhile?

You’ve counted the grant and scholarship dollars your student’s been awarded. You’ve added in your college savings account. And you’ve figured how much you can afford to send on your student out of your monthly paycheck. But there’s still a gap. You’re not alone. Like 69% of his or her peers, your student is probably going to have to borrow to attend college.

Americans are wary of college loans, and with good reason. We owe $1.3 trillion in educational debt. Thirty percent of our student borrowers are ruining their credit ratings because they’re behind on their payments. The other 70% sometimes live diminished lifestyles so they can afford pay their student loan bills.

But believe it or not, there is actually something worse than graduating from college with student debt, and that’s not graduating from college!

In 2014, the average student borrower earned a bachelor’s degree after having borrowed $28,950. Under the absolutely worst case scenario, it would cost $47 thousand to repay this amount at today’s interest rates. But census data show that Americans with bachelor’s degrees average $964 thousand more in earnings than those with high school diplomas. Is it worth a $47 thousand investment to earn $964 thousand? You bet! And since 64% of today’s new jobs require a college education, college borrowing should be viewed as just that — an investment.

Still, it’s just plain dumb to run up an unmanageable amount of educational debt. Fortunately, there are many ways to avoid this. See 10 Strategies for Limiting College Debt to learn more.

College Affordability Solutions has 40 years of experience in helping families pay for college. To find out if we can help you, call (512) 366-5354 or email

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