Student loans let you afford college.The average cost of college tuition, room, and board for the 2017–18 academic year is between $20,770 (4-year, public, in-state) and $46,950 (4-year, private), according to College Board. How many college students or recent high school graduates do you know that can afford between $80,000 and $188,000 for four years of college? Even when you lump in help from parents, it’s a small percentage of Americans that can afford a price tag like that without taking out any student loans at all.
2. Student loans mean you start out life with debt.If you rely on student loans to pay for college, that means that you will start out your adult life in debt. Sure, that college education might mean that you earn more money over your lifetime than someone with only a high school diploma. But, depending on how much you borrow, it could mean for a difficult first few years out of college, especially if, like millions of other college graduates, you’re having a hard time finding a job that pays enough money to allow you to live a decent life. (Luckily, if you’re having a hard time making payments on your federal student loans, you have options.)
The average monthly student loan payment in 2018 is $351. But many college graduates find themselves paying higher amounts, especially those who had to take out private student loans. (I personally pay $611 every month to cover my student loans, and that’s without factoring in the extra payments I make to pay them off faster.) That’s money that you could be using to save for a down payment on a house, finance a wedding, or invest for your long-term financial goals. If you’ve got a substantial amount of student loan debt, you might not be able to start pursuing these other financial goals until after you’ve finished paying off your debt, and at that point you’ll have to double your efforts to make up for lost time. No bueno.