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Is It a Good Time to Go Into Debt for an Education? – Marie

“Dear Steve,

I am just turning 53. I am a divorced female. I still have part ownership in a house with my ex. The amount left on the mortgage is 85,000. I have been thinking about going into debt for a degree, to the tune of about 40,000. Some of my friends tell me it’s a great idea, but a few say there are too many people looking for work with several degrees .

Is it a good time to go into debt for education. Considering the jobless rate, and the poor economy. Not to mention the glutt of people with degrees that are unemployed.??

Marie”

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The Answer

Dear Marie,

Wow, what a great questions. It shows you are thinking ahead.

Part of the answer is just flat out unknowable. But part of this mystery can be dealt with. Recent studies show that people with college degrees have a lower unemployment rate than people with only a high school diploma (4.5% versus 9.5%). – Source. So that’s some good news, unless you are one of those unemployed college graduates.

The more prudent path here would be for you to first go and interview several companies that normally hire people in the field you would study. It is important to get a handle on how much you could expect to earn straight out of college at your age and if jobs are plentiful in that field so you can reasonably assume you would be able to find a job.

The burden of student loan debt that can’t be serviced by income is very heavy. And whatever you do, don’t get a private student loan. Stick to only government backed student loans. If you get in trouble later they have more repayment options.

Keep in mind that student loan debt can’t be eliminated with bankruptcy and if you were unable to repay your government backed student loans before you wound up getting Social Security, they can garnish your Social Security checks and intercept tax refunds to help repay the student loans.

Going into debt for student loans is not something that should be casually entered into. The consequences of either not earning enough to service the loans or not being able to repay the loans are severe.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

Big Hug!

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Steve Rhode

    Excellent advice.

  • Hollis

    Here’s an idea for Marie. The interview scenario you suggest may be awkward or difficult to set up – people are busy and may or may not be willing to interview someone who isn’t actually lookkng for a job. Perhaps Marie can seek out a professional association in her intended field, contact the local chapter, attend some of their meetings to make friendly contacts who might share helpful information, perhaps even volunteer to serve on a committee or help run the local meetings (sign-up desk, refreshments, etc.) Along the way, she might attract the attention of a potential employer who might even offer tuition reimburement. Whether or not she pursues the other suggestions, networking in her chosen profession (current or future) is something everyone should always be doing.

  • Hollis

    Here’s an idea for Marie. The interview scenario you suggest may be awkward or difficult to set up – people are busy and may or may not be willing to interview someone who isn’t actually lookkng for a job. Perhaps Marie can seek out a professional association in her intended field, contact the local chapter, attend some of their meetings to make friendly contacts who might share helpful information, perhaps even volunteer to serve on a committee or help run the local meetings (sign-up desk, refreshments, etc.) Along the way, she might attract the attention of a potential employer who might even offer tuition reimburement. Whether or not she pursues the other suggestions, networking in her chosen profession (current or future) is something everyone should always be doing.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Excellent advice.

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