CSUSB students, alumni, and faculty discuss the advantages and disadvantages of either acquiring student loans or getting a job to pay for a college education.
For the majority of students, acquiring a degree is expensive. Many wonder if a student loan is worth the debt or if they are better off getting a job while going to school.
“I work every day after class at Target to pay for my tuition upfront,” said CSUSB sophomore Julius Hernandez. “Sometimes I wish I could have more time to participate around the school campus instead of rushing straight to work.”
Student loans help provide financial freedom during those hectic college years.
Not having to worry about work allows students to fully experience college by participating in extra curricular activities such as clubs, fraternities, sororities, and other pastimes that those with jobs simply do not have time for.
Donald Girard is a professor in the communications department at CSUSB with a Master of Business Administration from The Ohio State University.
“Loans take a lot of stress off so you can concentrate on your studies,” said Girard. “I guess the downside would be, you’ve got a financial obligation immediately after you get out of school.”
Students who are enrolled in a four year program at CSUSB and receiving loans, may graduate with approximately $40,000 of debt just for tuition costs. This can go up even more when considering housing, meal plans, and book costs.
The financial aid section of the CSUSB website provides necessary information on the types of loans students can qualify for and their terms. Also, the financial aid department located in University Hall can provide additional details.
The terms of these loans may be a determining factor in the decision of whether or not to get one.
“Some of the disadvantages I’ve dealt with are having high payments after graduation, interest rates going up and adding to the high loan amounts, and having to find a good enough job after graduation to be able to pay for the loans,” said CSUSB alumni Jacob Weatherbie.
Weatherbie graduated with a total of $48,000 in student debt with a range of interest rates between 4.5 percent to 8.9 percent.
There are also various pros and cons to having a job while going to school.
Those employed may not have to deal with lingering debt after graduation. Being financially free with a college degree is an empowering feeling.
“After graduation, it took me a couple months to find a job, but in the mean time I was not sitting on a pile of debt,” said CSUSB graduate Juan Ramirez. “I was able to put my money into a new Mustang instead of paying off a student loan.”
Also, research shows that students who held jobs during college enter the workforce with enhanced time management and budgeting skills.
“I used to prop my textbook up against the vent while I was making Big Macs so I could read my textbooks,” said Girard.
However, working can take up time that can perhaps be used to increase your employment opportunities after college.
“Having to work the entire time took away from studying or going to important events on campus, as well as making it difficult for me to take time to get an internship or prepare for a career after graduation,” said Weatherbie.
On the other end, balancing a job and school work creates a lot of stress on a student.
“I’m pretty sure I have lost some hair trying to juggle work with classes,” said CSUSB senior Elizabeth Rodriguez.
Breaks away from school hold much more value because it allows students to get a rest from the relentless schedule of class, work, and then homework.
One option may not necessarily be more beneficial than the other. It comes down to personal situations.
“There’s a lot of variables in this equation and it’s not as simple as door number one or door number two,” said Girard.