Are Student Loans A Necessary Evil? By Bizna Brand Analyst
Student loans have become common among university students in Kenya. But they are complicated and unfortunately, most freshly-, minted freshmen end up signing up for them without really evaluating the necessities and risks.
A good number of students just take loans to fund their fancy college lifestyles, not even to pay fees. It’s all for the good clothes and drinking. I personally would never have taken a loan if I knew better, even though I am almost done paying. Every time I take a pie of my salary to give HELB, I feel like I’ve been robbed.
Every shilling used to repay a student loan is a shilling less for other priorities like buying a car, building a house, getting married, having children etc. All that costs money and you’ll have tighter finances if you’re paying your student loans.
It’s no secret that some fresh graduates are delaying important adult milestones because of their student loan burdens. The consequences of delaying adulthood don’t just mean a slower start for young people. This downward spiral has a cascading impact on the nation’s economy as the generation charged with investing in the nation’s future is delaying their lives because of student debt.
There are guidelines that you ought to follow if you are a student to ensure that they don’t graduate with so much debt and end up suffering in the long run. I am not a student loan expert but I have learned a few things along the way that might help you. Things I wish I had known early.
Choose free money over loans (if you ever have that option)
If your parents can afford the fees, don’t take a loan. Refuse even f they urge you too. It’s you who will have the debt burden, not them. New campus students also make the mistake of not exploring other options first. While student loans are extremely helpful, they have to be paid back. Grants and scholarships, on the other hand, don’t need repayment. Look for free scholarships even if it means lying about the true financial capabilities of your guardians. It’ll help in the long run. Trust me.
Don’t take on debt that’s more than your expected first year’s salary
Calculate your total debt for all years of school. To get a ballpark estimate, multiply your first-year loan by the number of years of your program — for instance, multiply by four if you’re earning a bachelor’s degree. That should get you to within 15% of your total loan debt. Find out about the average starting salaries of people who are in the career you are studying for.
As a borrower, you have every reason to consider how much you’re borrowing and how much money you will probably earn. Do you think you’ll be able to pay your loans off in a reasonable amount of time without serious sacrifice on your part? Even so, while the government might guarantee these private loans, nothing guarantees that you will graduate with a job.
Plan out your course load
Once you know what degree you want to pursue, plan what courses you will take when from then until graduation, including all prerequisites. If you are allowed, try to take on a heavier course load each semester, or additional classes each year. By taking more units each semester, you may be able to finish a semester early and save on fees.Above all, try not to let four years turn into five. Don’t fail or repeat classes
Live with a roommate or at an affordable place. If you buy print notes, try selling them at the end of the semester. Cook your own meals if you can. By saving on your money, you can be able to use a portion of the loan that is usually sent to your account to make a substantial investment. You can also buy long term assets like furniture so that you won’t have to spend money on them again once you start working.