February 18th, 2010

Sallie Mae: Payback is a….

Sallie Mae was my best friend in college. More like a friend with benefits. She came and showered down little monetary raindrops all over me. However, shortly after, her showers turned into an ongoing torrential rain storm – that may never cease to end!

debt1Going to college was one of the best experiences I’ve had, but burden of student loans that were coupled with my academic career has caused me to experience a stress that I could not prepare for.

Some people are blessed to attend college without ever paying a dime. With the abundance of scholarships, federal grants and big bank accounts, many students can matriculate through their undergraduate and/or graduate programs and never stress about having to pay off student loans after walking across the stage to receive their degrees.

While I was elated during my commencement services last May, I couldn’t help but think about the daunting financial circumstances that I would soon face. Yes, I occasionally thought about it while I was enrolled in school, but I didn’t have a choice. I had to take out loans or there was no way I could pay my tuition.

Luckily, I found a job a few months after graduating and I have income that makes paying off my student loans more realistic. On the other hand, because I graduated during the recession, many of my classmates have yet to find a job which makes the idea of paying Sallie Mae or other loan providers almost impossible.

While it may seem like those of us who have already finished school have no choice at this point, teens that have yet to enroll in college, have a few choices they can make before they sign their name in blood on the loan contracts.

Go to a local school: When I was applying to schools, I never considered going to a school in New York. The only thing on my mind was getting as far away from home as I could! Don’t get me wrong, I love NYC, but I needed a temporary change of pace and atmosphere. If I had logically compared the tuition of some of the schools in New York to that of Clark Atlanta, I would have probably given it a second thought. Public colleges often have separate tuitions for students who are residents of that state. The tuition for in-state students is usually significantly lower than the price out-of-state students will have to pay. Normally, private institutions have a set tuition that both in-state and out-of-state students must pay. Thus, a public school may be the best alternative.

Apply for every scholarship that you find: There are many websites that help students find scholarships, but oftentimes the application process may be time consuming and students let these opportunities slip away. While I had accounts on, and, I never used these essential resources to the fullest extent. Taking the time to apply for scholarships, grants and fellowships could alleviate the financial burden that could lie ahead if you rely on student loans to pay for your education.

Transfer!: If you want to graduate from a particular school that is not a public school in your state, consider starting off at a local institution, then transfer your earned credits to the school of your choice. In doing so, you can lighten the hefty price tags that may be associated with the school of your choice by transferring in after your sophomore or junior year. Before you make this choice, be sure that the prospective school will take the credits you earn at the first college.

These are just three alternatives you could take, but I’m sure there are many other ways around the student loan fly trap. Be wise.

If you took out student loans and had the choice to do it all over again, what would you do?

About the Author

Ronn Richardson
Ronn Richardson is a young PR professional from NYC who is determined to learn as much as he can despite any barriers that try to hinder him. Eager to see a change in the types of online publications that college students, young professionals and new-school entrepreneurs visit, he conceived Socialtik Mag.



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  1. To answer your question about whether I would change my mind about taking out loans…I would have to say no.

    When I got accepted to my university of choice in LA, I knew I would never be able to afford to pay the tuition by myself. Growing up in a single parent home, my brother and I were raised by our father. As a refugee of Vietnam, my father never had the opportunity to go to school and educate himself because he needed to help financially support his family of…hella kids.

    Basically, my father always stressed the importance of education. Studies have shown that education is correlated to your socioeconomic status. With a degree under your belt, there are more doors of opportunity that are open to you. Although loans are a bitch to payback, you just got to keep in mind that you are investing in your future feel me? One should not have to go through college stressing about where you will get the money to pay for this quarter’s tuition fees. You just got to work hard and be confident in yourself and your abilities that you will find a job when you graduate, you will have a source of income to payback your loans.

    It is a bit intimidating when you begin to receive collection phone calls, but shiet, that’s what the ignore button on your cell is for, haha. Naw real talk though, just make sure that you get your payment in on time. If it means that you got to cut back on some spending expenses, well than do it because you need to pay back them loans or your credit will get fucked up.

    And you know, there are some alternatives to defer your loans after graduation. In this economy, loan companies are aware that it is hella hard to find a job no matter where you got your degree. You might feel you the only one struggling to pay back your loans, but in actuality, there are hella heads going through the same thing you going through. That’s why it is always important to give your loan company a call and ask for deferment options.

    One option that I am currently choosing is becoming a part-time student. When you become a part-time or full-time student, most loan companies will defer your loans until you are done. One of the good things about being a part-time student is that you can also find a part-time job. There are more part-time jobs out there nowadays because basically employers ain’t trying to pay the employee along with full-time benefits…they being hella shady like that now, so part-time jobs are more in demand because in terms of labor, it is cheaper for the employer.

    However, you should not take advantage of the deferment situation. Although you may have a couple of months of worry free, you must still be on your hustle to find a job and save at least a coo fraction of what you earn. By having some money saved, you can have something to fall back on in emergencies. Trust, it is doable, but it is an ability you must work at otherwise you will just spend that saved money on some dumb shiet.

    Mr. Ron Richardson, I am glad you brought up this topic because I feel that many people, no matter what your ethnic background may be, can relate to being in debt.

  2. Sallie Mae was my best friend in college. More like a friend with benefits. She came and showered down little monetary raindrops all over me. However, shortly after, her showers turned into an ongoing torrential rain storm – that may never cease to end!

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  10. Some people are blessed to attend college without ever paying a dime. With the abundance of scholarships, federal grants and big bank accounts, many students can matriculate through their undergraduate and/or graduate programs and never stress about having to pay off student loans after walking across the stage to receive their degrees.

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