Split blue image, woman with tablet, man at laptop, words Ask the Experts

Should I Take on Extra Debt to Attend My Dream School?

Your financial future is important, but it's tempting to take on extra student loan or other debt to attend your dream college. Here's some expert advice.

Marty O'ConnellMarty O'Connell
Executive Director
Colleges That Change Lives
The current economic climate and tough job market has most students and families carefully deciding how much student loan debt is reasonable. It is also important to ask your dream college what their tuition, room, and board increases have been in the past four years so you can have an accurate estimate for what your future borrowing will be. Investigate endowed scholarship opportunities for enrolled students (sometimes these are listed in the online college catalog) to see if you might eligible for additional awards once you are enrolled. Before making a final decision, carefully investigate the college’s outcomes for graduate and professional school attendance and/or employment, and services available to help student in the transition from college to the workplace or graduate school. Ask about availability of internships during your undergraduate years, as this will increase your opportunities for employment following graduation, which is what most worries students graduating with high debt. Finally, is it possible that one of your other less expensive college choices could become your dream college? Many students report being happy at their “second choice” school after they are enrolled, loving their classes and the community of new friends.

For more advice on deciding if your expensive dream college is the right choice, check out our article: This or That: What to Consider Before Choosing a College

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