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Is Your Student Loan Debt ‘Worth It’?

Higher education is supposed to be a no-brainer: Even if you have to borrow, you’ll earn more with a degree. But that ROI is breaking down. As more of us take out gigantic student loans and struggle to find the right jobs, we ask: Was your student loan debt worth it or not?

Was your student loan worth it?Right now, Americans like you have over $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. Even worse, 1 in 3 loans are in some stage of default.

But I didn’t need to see those stats to know that the student loan crisis is real. When I polled Money Under 30 readers earlier this year, repaying student loans topped your list of financial priorities. And I get emails every week from readers trying to manage payments on student loan burdens that top $50,000 or even $100,000.

If you have student loan debt, I’m curious to know — and please answer in a comment if you’re inclined — is your student loan debt “worth it”?

Are student loans still an investment?

To me, there’s no question that education is important. The statistics are clear: over time, a college degree is still a good investment. On average, Americans with bachelor’s degrees (regardless of field) will earn about $1 million more than Americans who never attend college.

The smarter you are about it, the more you can maximize your ROI, of course. Find a low-cost school, pick up specific skills instead of majoring in sociology like, ahem, this blogger.

And you could, of course, use those numbers to justify a $200K student loan for a bachelor’s degree, as indeed a few unscrupulous college admissions reps might. “This degree is worth at least a million! Why wouldn’t you invest $200K?”

The intangible costs of student debt

But what good is a higher income “someday” if half of it goes to pay off student loans for the first 20 years?

And what if something bad happens? Student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. These debts are with you for life.

But even more importantly: What do you lose by having all that debt?

Last week I wrote about how having money in the bank can literally buy you freedom. If it costs you $400 a week to live, every $400 in the bank is a week that, hypothetically, you don’t have to work. But big loan debts do the opposite of saving–they inhibit your freedom to do anything but work and make your payments, month after month.

My biggest regret about being in so much debt throughout my 20s is the opportunities lost. If I hadn’t been in debt, where might I have traveled? If I hadn’t been in debt, what risks might I have taken? Maybe I’d have been able to afford to stay in New York City, or moved somewhere new entirely.

I’ve learned to realize regret is silly, and that much of my life today that’s so good is a direct result of the financial adversity I faced for many years. That said, I think it’s important for anyone who has experienced the burden of a lot of debt — specifically student loan debt — to speak up. Both to warn college students who haven’t yet signed their promissory notes and to call attention to ballooning education costs and loose lending standards.

Broke, Busted & Disgusted is documentary in the works that hopes to address the student loan crisis and offers solutions that are pro-education, but anti-debt. You can watch the trailer below and, for the next few days at least, the movie is raising money on IndieGogo if you feel compelled to contribute. (Money Under 30 kicked in a bit.)

For now, I’m curious to hear from you. Was your student loan debt worth it? Why or why not? How much did you borrow, and for what? Let us know in a comment.

Published or updated on April 8, 2014

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.


We invite readers to respond with questions or comments. Comments may be held for moderation and will be published according to our comment policy. Comments are the opinions of their authors; they do not represent the views or opinions of Money Under 30.

  1. Todd Mau says:

    Absolutely not.

  2. Marijah Adams-Cleekq says:

    I also got a degree in Sociology, and now I work in marketing. I walked away from college with $67K in debt, and I feel split between whether it was worth it or not. The knowledge I gained it college helped me in a lot of ways, including making quality arguments or having a great understand of the culture I live in. To me, those things are invaluable and will help me for the rest of my life. However, I also have two kids, and an added student loan payment isn’t helping out. Especially considering that I don’t really make that much money. I didn’t walk out of college to a $100k a year job. But I did land a job that pays me more than a lot of my peers from college. My husband is an English professor, and education is immensely important to us. But I have already started looking for education opportunities for my kids that will keep them from making the same choices that I did. If they choose to go to college, I at least want them to know all of the options for scholarships or grants. I need to educate them about their educations because I went in blindly, and now I’m paying the price… for the next 40 years.

  3. Mike says:

    Things could be better, but they could also be worse. After reading these comments, $65,000 with 3 Degrees (BA in Communications, BS in Psychology, and MS in Industrial Organizational Psych) isn’t bad at all! All were Federal Stafford as well and I am enrolled in the Income Based repayment program and qualify for the student loan forgiveness program because I work at a public university. If the law doesn’t change (or those already in the program are grandfathered in), it will be paid off in 10 years. The first payouts don’t start until October 2017. It was a struggle to get a job right out of school, but a couple years later I was able to land a leadership Manager role in Human Resources. Luckily I have a partner to share expenses with, so it’s not bad at all. We purchased a house last year because his student debt was small.

  4. Molly says:

    I hate that a degree helps you get a job, the mentality of your subjective education making you more eligible than one who has more experience without a degree. I have a business degree, I have had 3 jobs that I have hated, and not ONE of them used the skill set that I learned in college. Something is backwards, I got the job because I was qualified by my degree, but I didn’t need that degree to do the job. I currently found my own work and am a contract employee loving what I do working in a completely opposite field than my degree, yet I still pay $500/mo on my student debt. Something just doesn’t add up! Great Article, Amazing Cause, I am proud to say I have donated.

  5. Katy says:

    I graduated with a B.S. in biology from a private school in 09. The main reason I went there was because I was offered an academic and athletic scholarship that made it cheaper than a state school. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have been able to afford it. I then jumped right into graduate school (doctor of physical therapy) where I proceeded to rack up approximately 100k in loans. I worked throughout undergrad and grad school. Although its next to impossible to work full time in that grad program, due to the sheer amount of time I was required to be on campus. A DPT is now required to practice as a physical therapist, so I had no other choice. Thankfully I graduated and passed the board exam- I have friends with biology degrees who didn’t get into grad school who also attended that school and have a ton of debt in a job making minimum wage. Thankfully, PTs are in demand right now and Ill make a little over 70k at my first job but all of my loan debt has made my husband and I think carefully about when/if to buy a home and start a family. I think loans CAN be worth it, as obviously I would not have my career without them, but I think people should proceed with caution.

  6. Claudia says:

    I owe just over $23,000 from my undergraduate degree and was able to save enough money and get a partial scholarship, to cover all of my Master’s, so I think all in all I’ve come out ok for being on my way to two degrees.

    With that said, I think that if I had to make the choice again with the steep tuition fee hikes that have gone on in the UK over recent years, I’m not sure it would have been worth it for my undergraduate degree (East Asian Studies) as the earning potential for that isn’t that high. Also, if I’d had to pay back my undergraduate debts straight away, I don’t think I would have even contemplated moving into an MA, which makes me very very grateful for the deferred paying thresholds available here, because on my salaries since graduation I very much doubt I would have survived long without defaulting somewhere along the line… sad but true :(

  7. Amanda says:

    Mine was absolutely NOT worth it and, quite frankly, is the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. I am in way over my head and now I’m stuck in a terrible job with a terrible boss and it feels like it will be this way until the debt is paid off. I feel like my life is literally on hold until this debt is gone (in fact, the bank pretty much told me that when I thought about getting my own place. Opps.) Fortunately, my parents were smarter with their money than I was and they allowed me to refinance the debt against some property they own. I’ve managed to pay off almost just over $30,000 in the first year.

  8. Seth says:

    Worth it for me? Yes. I was fortunate in that I went to the in-state school (Ga Tech). I had some scholarships initially but lost those after two years so I took out loans for school and living expenses during the rest of college. Since I was in state, the tuition wasn’t completely outrageous. I believe my total loans came out to around $25k. I majored in engineering and started my career making in the mid $40’s at 23. At the time, I wasn’t sure it would be worth it, but now I just turned 28 and should make $68-75k this year depending on a bonus. I know that outside of a sales job (which I don’t have the personality for), it is highly unlikely that I would be anywhere near that salary five years into my career had I not gone to college or gone to a cheaper school without engineering.

  9. Nathan Cliber says:

    Not even slightly.
    I have a law degree, over $100k in student debt, and have been struggling to make ends meet. I’m currently making only $36k/year, and have been unemployed and searching for two out of the five years since I graduated. Still, my alma mater asks me for donations every year, and continues to flood the market with some 300 or so new lawyers just as often.

    Something like half of the attorneys that graduated with me in 2009 are currently unemployed.

    If Lawyers can’t make enough to survive, what hope is there for anyone else?

  10. ks says:

    Like other commenters, it was paying for grad school that really increased my overall student loan burden.

    Undergrad was definitely worth it for the ~$20K debt I left with — I wouldn’t have the knowledge, internships, or network without the undergrad experience. I have a feeling I could even justify a little bit MORE debt and still say it was worth it.

    I needed that graduate degree (masters) to work in my current field, which makes the additional $50K debt “worth it” as well, I suppose. But more specifically, I needed the master’s degree to enter the field due to the path I chose as an undergrad (when I admittedly was unsure what I wanted to do).

    So my biggest regret is not taking full advantage of my undergrad education — I MIGHT have been able to forgo the time and expense of grad school if I had been a little more thoughtful as a high school senior or college freshman. It’s a tricky balancing act to enjoy the freedom to try new things in college while still pursuing the coursework and degree that will allow you to enter a desired career.

  11. Erin M says:

    “Worth it,” yes. Would I still do things differently? Yes. Start out at a cheaper school and transfer in or pick a cheaper school altogether. Only accept what I truly needed from student loans, not the full award amount.

  12. BigLawyer says:

    I went to an elite (Harvard/Yale/Stanford) law school, graduating in my early 20s with 105K of debt. The degree itself cost around 160K at the time, but I paid off the remaining debt through selling some investments, summer associate income, and with parental help. I’m now in my late 20s, with under 25K in student debt that is locked in at very low interest rates (most at 1.6%, the remainder at 3.25%) and with a growing positive net worth. I am happily employed at a BigLaw firm that will pay me more than 250K this year in base + bonus. Absolutely, categorically, the student debt was worth it and the degree was worth it. Thanks to my law school (to which I owe a profound debt of gratitude), I have a job that is rewarding, interesting, and facilitates an upper middle class lifestyle in one of the most expensive areas in the country – the San Francisco Bay Area. I have no problem at all with my law school having charged a steep price for the J.D.: they gave me my money’s worth, both in education and in a lifetime of post-graduation opportunities.

    I am aware that there are many other law schools that offer far poorer returns on investment, and I am glad to hear that prospective law students are increasingly avoiding those schools. For those who wish to be lawyers, I advise making the sacrifices necessary to graduate at the top of your undergraduate class and to ace the LSATs. Those two straightforward (but hard!) steps will give you your pick of elite law schools. Coupled with good performance in law school, you will see amazing ROI on your law school tuition. If you don’t want to take those steps, then the debt associated with law school can easily turn into a living nightmare and your worst mistake, as one commenter upthread has captured.

  13. HF says:

    When I left undergrad, I was approximately $65-75k in debt (private college). I did receive significant scholarship support representing 60-70% of my financial need; however, the remaining portion was met solely by a mix of federal and private loans, no family support. My graduate programs were paid in full by assistantships, so I thankfully did not acquire any additional debt in that respect. For reference, my undergrad was in Creative Writing at a private college, Grad in Library Science at a state college, and my career salary range from starting salary to current has been $60k-$80k in a non-metropolitan living area.

    Looking back, I don’t regret the debt I incurred for my education, and in light of the fact that both of my degrees are highly and often criticized in their nature and salary potential, I consider myself really blessed in the career opportunities and salary potential I have attained (I cannot over emphasize the importance of professional organization membership/subsequent networking, or the flexibility to relocate!). Rather, the regret I have would be surrounding how I managed my debt in the early years of my career when I could have really paid off a lot. There are a million reasons I could cite as to why I didn’t, but the bottom line is, I just didn’t prioritize my student loan debt.

    I would encourage those in college to seek out guidance, from family or professionally, on personal finance prior to graduation in order to avoid some of the unnecessary speed bumps I wish I had avoided and have a plan in place on how you personally want to tackle your student loan debt. Additionally, be flexible about your career expectations. Set aside any idealized notions now and be realistic about what is affordable for you (ie. if you have $80k in student loan debt, you might not want to take a $40k job in an area with a higher cost of living, might not want to buy a new car, might consider getting a roommate, etc.).

  14. Syed says:

    My student loan debt coming out of school 5 years ago was comparatively a lot (150K), but it is a professional degree in a field (optometry) that has great employment and self employment opportunities so I feel it was worth it. The default plan from my lender would have me paying minimum payments for 25 years. This is an unacceptable amount of time for me so I’m trying to get rid of the debt quicker and am on track to have it done in 10 years form graduation.

    While it’s true ROI of education is down, paying your student loans off quicker will get that ROI back up. You’ll be paying less interest and your money will be freed up sooner for investing.

  15. Brandon says:

    I dont know, honestly. I argue with myself about i everyday. My student loan debt is ridiculous, well over 100K. I finished with two bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Psychology and about 3 months after graduation started my career at about $48K per year. I’ve been living fairly well, been able to make all my payments easily and i havent really wanted for anything. But that’s partially because i skipped on some things most people view as essential…primarily, i just bought my first car a month ago at the age of 26 and a half. The absence of the cost of personal transport balanced things out, but i couldnt live with that intense inconvenience forever, especially since i moved to Texas to start my career, where i have no friends or family within a 1200 mile radius.

    I’m an adventurous person, so i am kind of miffed about the amount of traveling i WANT to do and the amount i’m ACTUALLY doing. My loans prohibit me in a few ways because i do have to be fairly prudent with my money, so sometimes my student loans feel like a burden and a swindle when im dreaming of taking a month or two take laps around south american countries or island hop in the pacific.

    But at the same time, as i mentioned: i did finish with two degrees. I primarily profess in the IT industry at the moment as a contract software engineer, but i have the freedom to make a career change or mix in some of that psychology and do human factors type work if i find it lucrative. But aside from that, the skills and experience i gained from college have put me a clear cut echelon above others i work with and its obvious. I’m generally more prepared to take on anything than most others i end up working with and my learning curve is extremely steep…i can pick up new skills and technologies almost in an instant so im able to make myself very valuable in that way and position myself to move up in the chain. I’ve been picking up raises and promotions fairly quickly, I’m already making almost 10K more than i was when i started 3 years and some change ago. So considering all this, it does seem worth it.

    Its very subjective, depends on a lot of factors honestly. what it is you want to do, what kind of life you want to lead, etc.
    I’m a little bummed im not going to get ot spend my 20’s doing AS MANY of the wild adventurous things i like, but i cant exactly say im bored right now either, and im certainly not in need.

  16. mjean says:

    I have a ridiculous amount if student loan debt. Was it with it? Nope. I went to an expensive private school.Since graduating, I’ve worked alongside people who went to state or small unknown schools, and have barely any debt. My advice for anyone going to school is to either go to an Ivy League, where the name will matter down the line, or simply go to a cheap state school that will qualify you any position after graduation. Because the tuition for the schools in between is atrocious, and frankly not worth the debt.

  17. Kelly says:

    It is worth it, but only because the job market is so competitive. If I didn’t have a Master’s Degree, I would not have the awesome job I have right now. But I’d still classify it under “barely”. Until I a loan forgiveness program that’s going to forgive a big portion of my $70,000 student load debt (read up on all these programs), I paid off interest for 10 years and didn’t even make a dent in my debt. It is an odd trade off. It helped me get the job I have which pays the bills, BUT it makes it so I cannot save for an emergency fund or save in any form what-so-ever. My first priority is to pay off this debt and it should be and it’s going to take another 10 years! I can’t help but laugh when people tell me I need to save. It is NOT an option for my generation with debt like this until that debt is gone.

  18. Pamela Ocampo says:

    I dont believe my student loan debt was worth it. What I mean by that is I could have shopped around for more affordable schools with a lower tuition than my private school experience. Im a believer that you can go to college without any student loans if you work prior to attending college, getting scholarships and hustling while you are at school. These things require sacrifice but I believe its worth it. I wish I had known about this prior to signing up for thousands in student loan debt.

    I dont regret going to college by any means but I regret not knowing about how student loans work and educating myself as much as possible to make more conscientious decisions. I am working hard now in paying off my loans and should be debt free by the end of 2014!!! Its possible!

  19. Ashley says:

    I think my student loans were worth it only because they are only 10k. I had a scholarship, grants, and a job. I was able to raise my income 15k a year after graduating with my bachelor’s degree and my job hired me because of my degree. It sucks having any kind of debt, but I will pay it off within 6-12 months and be done with it. I don’t recommend student loans, but it all depends on your situation.

  20. JJ says:

    My big-10 undergraduate degree was expensive but did open several doors for me. The ROI on a moderately priced, strategically planned (computer science, etc.) undergraduate degree is about break-even. The most difficult lesson came right after college when all of my peers were in graduate school while I was working (and earning 3x as much). I felt at times as if it were socially unacceptable to work on my career. I felt isolated and struggled to find relationships. I got accused of being a sell-out and a slacker(?) and yuppie and a republican and all kinds of stupid things. No one wanted to date me because I was a “capitalist” who supported unethical economies. I heard all kinds of assessments about how difficult it would be to find and keep a job and how “un-marketable” I was with my lowly bachelors degree. Apparently it was only a matter of time before I was fired so someone from India could take over. As a 25 year old, it was admittedly hard to listen to all of that crap. I can see why young people buy into the pressure and fall for the scam of graduate school.

    But 10 years later, I insist that my reluctance to take on graduate school debt was the best thing that ever happened to me as I watch all of my former critics struggle with their massive loan payments and meager entry level salaries. I rarely hear success stories about graduate school. I’ve met 3 dentists who claim that it paid off to go to graduate school, but all of the other acquaintances who went live significantly less comfortably than I do.

  21. Jessie says:

    Yes. I have a master’s degree, and I make roughly 8 grand more per year now than the job I was offered out of college. I’m in the human services field so that may not be a lot to others, but it is to me.

  22. S says:

    Yes, it was worth it. I finished a 6 year program and now have my doctorate and make 6 figures. Going to college wouldn’t have been possible for me (my parents had three kids in college at the same time!) without them.

  23. Melissa says:

    I got my degree in Computer Science and went on to do my MBA, I currently have about 100,000 in student loan debt. Once I got out of school it was really hard to find a job that paid well and so I was able to defer my payments because I was doing my MBA at the time so that helped. Once I got my position it started me at about 46,000 which is fairly ok. But I wanted to save at the same time so that’s taking a heaping out of my current paycheck. I got a 2% raise but that didn’t really increase it by much since I contribute to my 401. I’m really just trying to increase my credentials so that I can hopefully move on to a higher paying position very soon. I don’t have years and years of experience so that is hindering me a little because I have all of this education. I’m going to start paying my debt off soon and hopefully I can get a low payment based on my income. We will see. All in all it was worth it. I do feel it will eventually pay off in the future once I can match those years of experience with my education.

  24. KB says:

    159k = undergrad and a law degree with a few scholarships, working, and living at my parents during both undergrad and law school. My parents were not able to provide any financial support beyond allowing me to stay rent free. The 13k of this for undergrad (graduated in 05 from a state school) was absolutely worth it. I view 12k for a bachelors (even if it was Political Science) as a deal. I tell prospective law students if I had to make the decision again, with what I know now, I would go to law school for 30k, no more. As the market stands now, I don’t think the degree is worth more than that. As for my debt, I have 9 years left for PSLF. I’ll have repaid rougly 100k by the time my loans are forgiven and I think that’s fair. Student loan payments (public & private) currently comprise roughly half of my income (this is a very accelerated pay schedule for the private loans) which certainly limits my ability to buy a home, car, vacation, etc.

  25. Charlie says:

    I currently have debt around 80K, which includes a Parent PLUS loan that I can’t take over from my now part-time Target cashier working mother. I can’t decide if that was all worth it because I wasn’t aware at the time what all of that meant. I don’t think my current position (that I don’t particularly like) makes it all seem worth it, but knowing how lift could be without a degree, that’s my only advantage. WIth that said, I am taking full advantage of my company’s tuition reimbursement to get an MBA, which in the end I’ll only end up spending $500 myself if I plan it out right. That, in the end will be worth it, the bachelor’s degree was just a painful step to get there I suppose. I should also add that there was excess in my loans and that helped me replace a car that was about to die on me when I graduated.

  26. Carl says:

    To earn my B.S. degree I needed to take out about $17k in both federally subsidized and unsubsidized student loans. Fortunately I didn’t need to pursue any student loans from private lenders, so my highest interest rate is 6.8% (with some loans at less than 5%). When I continued onto my M.S. degree, the majority of my costs were paid for through a research assistanship, but I still have taken out another $10k through grad school to cover remaining costs (also Federally unsubsidized loans, 6.8%). All told I am currently at $28k in loans. If I had pursued a career in my field immediately post graduation (my department in Biological Engineering at Purdue boasts 100% placement rate within 6 months of graduation), I could have expected to be earning between $55-60k/ salary. With $16k in loans, a $55k salary with plenty of room for advancement in engineering, I would say yes, the loans were easily worth it (since in the engineering field a bachelor’s degree acts as a barrier to entry into the field). Now that I am nearing the end of my master’s program, I have accepted an offer for a full-time position in engineering for just under $80k salary, plus another 10k in signing bonus and relocation. So, taking out $10k more in loans (at 6.8%) means I have net an additional $30k + in salary, with even more room for advancement. In conclusion, both of my engineering degrees were well worth my student loans, and especially my M.S. in Engineering degree. TL;DR: Go to grad school in a STEM field to make student loans worth the risk.

  27. Trish says:

    Without student loans, they would’ve been absolutely no way for me to get an undergrad degree. My family hovered around the poverty line my entire life, and I knew from a young age there was no way for me to go to college unless the money or earned it on scholarship. Thankfully I chose to go into the sciences instead of creative writing, which I think gave me considerably more options. That said, with just an undergrad degree underneath my belt, I still wasn’t able to find much more for work than waitressing or tutoring on the side. Now, having gotten into professional school, it really does look like it was worth it. I can’t help but wonder though if my biology degree would’ve been so worth it had I not gotten into my program. Now my professional program plus student loans will probably leave me in about $200,000 worth of debt. Here’s hoping my earning potential can keep up once I graduate.

  28. Dennis says:

    Whenever you borrow you’re taking a chance. There are no guarantees. What’s true today may not be true tomorrow. Your recommendations to minimize debt are on right on target. There’s another aspect to this discussion that I rarely see discussed. We leave significant portions of our cash sitting in checking accounts enabling the banks to use it as leverage to borrow anywhere between 2 and thirty times. They invest these borrowed dollars and pay consumers little to nothing. Imagine if we kept our dollars working 24/7 just like the bank. Yes, it requires discipline; however, it would enable us to retire debt and build wealth much faster.

  29. “If it costs you $400 a week to live, every $400 in the bank is a week that, hypothetically, you don’t have to work.” I love that! And that’s exactly how I look at my savings!

    I just finally got out of debt, but my lifestyle changed too. I worked several weird jobs that paid for my room and board (and sometimes even food!) while paying off my school loans – now that I’ve finally got a stable job, an apartment and a pile of bills to pay each month, I keep aiming to multiply my emergency fund by $1500. That’s the magic number that pays for all my bills for a month.

  30. lw says:

    I went to law school- partially because I didn’t know what I wanted to do and bc I thought why not grab a doctorate degree? I had someone in my life then who promised to pay for it all when I was done, so I happily signed (or should I say clicked bc it takes all of 20 seconds to take out a $50k+ student loan) on the dotted line. Yes I know 1) I never should have gone to law school if I didn’t really want to be a lawyer and 2) I never should have relied on someone’s promise to pay for it all when I was done- very BIG mistakes on my part.
    With that being said, going to law school is my biggest regret in life. I have almost $200k in student loan debt, and with the market over-saturated with new lawyers it is almost impossible to find a job that can support myself, the loan and a place to call home- I currently reside at my parents. I am terrified that Obama will eliminate the Public Interest Student Loan Forgiveness program (I believe he is trying to cap it in the $50k range which is only 1 yr of law school). Because of having this student loan I will never be approved for a mortgage, will have trouble leasing an apartment, my FICO score has decreased and my credit cards will not increase my limits even though I have stellar credit.
    I try not to think on where I would be now without the student loan because it makes me so upset. Having the degree is ABSOLUTELY 125% not worth it. I would say 0 ROI and an absolute, life-altering mistake on my part for ever going!

  31. Rob says:

    I am currently in my last semester of graduate school. I probably would have disagreed that all of my student debt for both undergraduate and graduate were not worth it. However, this past November, I landed a job in corporate banking, which started me at $65K. I do not look forward to paying my college loans, but it payed off (at least for me). I owe about $55K, with an undergraduate degree in Political Science and English and a graduate degree in Public Administration.

    Graduate school has added many skills that will continue to make my career go upward.

  32. Moses says:

    While I was in school, it was really sad to see that many people in my non-major classes hadn’t a clue what they wanted to do. It’s hard to trust that an 18 year old would use that amount of money wisely and consider their financial future every step of the way. I even regret some of my financial choices, and I’m not even in a bad situation.

    College isn’t about getting an education anymore. It’s about how many friends you can find, what to say to convince your professor to raise your grade, and how to get out of doing the already minimal workload. The quality of education suffers immensely because of the overall complacency of students, and their ignorance about their current financial situation. College doesn’t prepare you for the real world like it says it does. It just prolongs adolescence in many ways for many people.

  33. Tim says:

    I graduated with a professional degree at age 27 and anticipated ~$100K in total loan debt, which was pretty close. While my internship and residency were tight years, I used deferrments until getting my first position. Currently make graduated payments with payoff within 10 years, plus my employer (federal government) has a loan reimbursement program that’ll take off $60K. So honestly, I feel less limited than I could because 1)I still partially live like a grad student (bring my lunch, kept my same car, cook at home) and 2)I know that my situation will improve dramatically soon. So yes, definitely worth it. Oh and haven’t neglected retirement funding (10% to roth TSP with match of 5% to traditional TSP), kudos to your blog for pointing me in the right direction there.

  34. K says:

    Almost all of my student debt comes from my Master’s degree (was lucky enough to earn a lot of scholarships and grants for undergrad), and I wouldn’t have been able to get the job I now have and/or continue on in my career in Public Health without that degree, so in that sense it’s worth it. That being said, my overall student debt is currently more than I make in a year, which postpones home ownership for probably another decade, among other things. I work for a non-profit, which is a good thing because of the federal program that forgives student debt after 10 years of working in non-profit, but is not a good thing because it means that I may live reasonably comfortable, but my yearly salary will never compare to those in other for-profit fields. I went into all of this with eyes wide open, but it’s definitely a mixed bag.

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