An April 3, 2011 Metro.us article doesn't mince words when it comes to apprising borrowers of the grave consequences of going rogue on their student loans. "Defaulting on your student loans can have serious consequences," the article warns. "The government can garnish your wages, withhold your tax return or send a collection agency after you."
Consequences don't end with your liabilities to the government, however. Your entire existence as a viable consumer falls into jeopardy if you default on your student loans. "Defaulting will mess up your credit rating, making it difficult or impossible to get a car loan or a mortgage," the article continues. "It can also prevent you from getting a job, which is what happened to one Metro reader, whose potential employer ran a credit check and found that $70,000 was owed on a defaulted loan."
The Metro.us article certainly paints a scary picture. "Default and be cast into outer consumer darkness," seems to be its basic moral. A March 30, 2011 U.S. News and World report article offers a more even-toned appraisal of the student loan default situation. "Default rates alone paint an incomplete picture" of this situation, the article reports, "because they exclude borrowers who have difficulty repaying their loans but avoid default."
The upshot is that whether they do or don't default "a majority of students struggle to repay their loans." Students considering taking on debt to finance their university careers should weigh their options with great assiduity. "Students need to carefully consider the amount of debt they are able to take on in order to finance their education," the article warns. "They also need to understand and utilize repayment options -- such as forbearance, deferral, income-based repayment, and public service loan forgivingness -- to avoid delinquency and default."
Both the Metro.us and U.S. News articles offer sound advice aplenty with regard to avoiding trouble with your student loans. But the best way to avoid such trouble is to avoid borrowing any money at all to finance your higher education. A March 31, 2011 Red, White, And Blue Press article reports on the many strategies students of modest means employ to foot their tuition bills without having to step into the quicksand of compound interest. "[S]ome students are going to great lengths to meet their college tuition costs, or simply gain enough money to meet not only college fees but other expenses that arise when attending a college, like living expenses and food costs," the article states. "One example of these alternative ways that students are paying for college, according to the article, is for signing up with volunteer groups like AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity, or the American Red Cross, which may also offer scholarships that some students have not considered."
The article further informs us that "there are also opportunities for students to participate in work-study programs, as well as, simply look for student jobs on campus as areas like student unions, gymnasiums, or even various campus departments offer not only work-study opportunities but may hire part-time workers throughout the semester, which again, can provide at least some form of income for students who may be on a financing plan or who simply need extra money to meet additional costs outside of tuition fees."
The old proverb states that necessity is the mother of invention. Not willing to cramp their post-collegiate lifestyles with onerous debt, many college students have shown themselves to make considerable sacrifices in the short term in exchange for greater financial freedom down the road. The most important life lesson in this instance comes before you ever step into a lecture hall.