Dreading graduation? Want to know who’s responsible for spinning your $40,000 loan into $100,000 over 12 years and crushing you if you can’t afford it? CollegeScholarships.org and byJess.net bring you this epic (if overdramatic) graphic detailing the industry of student loans and how to avoid ’em altogether.
Community college being as cost-effective as it is, many wonder if fancy college could possibly be worth the expense. Maybe not. But if you disregard the subjective value of the “experience,” what it comes down to is this: you’re investing in not just knowledge, but social and cultural capital—you’re literally surrounded by people who know people in positions to help you. Nothing to sneeze at.
Pre-college saving is solid advice, of course, but if you’re middle class and set on liberal arts, the money you’ll save from minimum-wage summer jobs will barely subtract a pittance from the soul-crushing immensity of post-grad debt. Some better guidance: learn how to manage and save money once you’ve graduated and begun your career. Learn how to make a budget, shop smart, cook, and keep tabs on your income and expenses. Learn how to save enough to pay off your loans in a lump sum, depriving Sallie Mae and the banks of $20 grand in finance charges. (Of course, few colleges will teach you that.)
—Photo via Tozak.org