Help: I’m Drowning….In Debt!

Financial advice to keep you afloat in these rough financial waters.

By Maranda Gonzalez

Studying, partying, making friendships to last a lifetime, getting ready to start your career, all of these expectations come from one place: college. It’s what many people dream of, but what isn’t comfortably talked about is the effects that student loans can have, not just in college, but after graduation.

Sure, it seems easy to click a button and boom you have $3000 dollars in your bank account, but what about after? How much more are you going to pay because of interest? How will it affect your life post-college? It’s a lot to think about, but here’s some advice on what you can do to help yourself.

Make Sure You Know What You’re Getting Yourself Into

It might seem like no big deal to pull out $5000 by signing your name on a dotted line, but this quick deal can affect your credit, chances of buying a car with a low rate and your qualifications on a house if you don’t pay off your loan in a timely manner and of course if you miss payments.

It might seem like a lot to comprehend because it is, but there is help out there. Visiting your Financial Aid Office can help clear things up and a Financial Aid counselor will be able to guide you towards specific loans and scholarships that may benefit your unique situation while explaining how it can affect your financial aid award if you qualify for them.

Don’t feel embarrassed to ask for help and don’t be ashamed for feeling confused, these are big decisions to make considering most people start pulling out loans in their freshman year at the age of 18. That’s an awfully young age to truly understand the impact this decision will make throughout your lifetime. So, reach out to the resources around you and take time to understand your loan options.

Managing Your Money

It can be hard to manage your money and put aside what’s needed to pay your bills every month, especially if you want to go to the latest music festival to watch Drake with all of your friends. Luckily, CSUF offers a course that will show you exactly how to do it.

Financing 310 is a course that offers an in-depth review of personal finance, specifically on developing skills to manage your personal finances. It also fulfills a 3-unit GE under mathematics and is available for all students to take.

Jeff Parsons, CSUF professor, has been teaching Financing 310 at CSUF for over 10 years. He aims to help students become “financially independent” so they don’t have to rely on anyone. “Upon course completion students will be in a better position to avoid these pitfalls and go on to successfully achieve financial and life goals, resulting in living happier lives,” Parsons says. 

Say no more fam, this course will surely help students manage their long-term financial goals.

You’re Not Alone

I know it sucks to hear that other people are getting loads of financial aid while you’re stuck pulling out another $5000 just to avoid having to drop out, but don’t fret, you’re not the only one. 

“Among the Class of 2018, 69 percent of college students took out student loans, and they graduated with an average debt of $29,800, including both private and federal debt,” according to Student Loan Hero, a financial advice organization for student debt.

After I  graduate in Spring 2020, I will have roughly $8000 in loan debt. It doesn’t sound like much when you compare it to the national average, but it could’ve been way higher if I didn’t make payments throughout college or take the time to think things all the way through in order to make the best financial decisions for myself.

Everyone’s situation is different, so don’t compare yourself to others, but that also doesn’t mean you should go in blindly and pull out more than you need to splurge on unnecessary things. Play it smart, learn, and you will stay afloat.

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