(DegreeAdvisers.com) – When it comes to planning for the future, furthering education is often at the top of the list. But with an unstable economy, is college a wise investment? Many people are weighing their options. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if your future would be better with a 4-year education or an alternative. Here are some thoughts to ponder.
Consider the Degree’s Potential
If there is an occupation out there, chances are there’s a degree that will match it. While showcasing your art at your favorite gallery is a dream come true, consider the tuition of art school.
For example, undergraduate tuition at the School of Art Institute of Chicago is around $48,000, but the average salary is only $40,000 after 10 years of graduation. An in-demand career such as industrial engineering may have high tuition costs, but you’ll be making a good paycheck right away.
Your Current Debt Load
When asking yourself if a college degree is worth the debt, consider your current debt load. Is it hefty? Signing on for a student loan will increase your debt-to-income ratio. If you have a large debt load now, try paying it off first. The goal is to get your payments under 41% of your total income.
Where You’ll Be Living
Are you planning on living on campus? Or sharing an apartment with friends? If you’re going to have considerable monthly living expenses, you might want to hold off on racking up loan debt.
If your parents are paying your housing costs or you’re still living at home, it will free up your monthly cash flow a bit. You can combine federal and private loans to pay for daily cost-of-living expenses.
Don’t Sidetrack Your Dreams
If at the end of the day your dream is to be a doctor, don’t let anything stand in your way. The cost of medical school can be exponential, but it doesn’t have to cloud your end goal. There is help available. With student and private loans as well as grants and scholarships, you can finance your way to your dream job.
There are many college alternatives available. Trade school, military, online learning and profitable side hustles can fill that void. If you can’t pay for college right now, don’t give up. It’s all about making a living doing what you love and building a solid future from there. It’s your dream, so grab it by the horns!
~Here’s to Your Success!
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