Young classy black ladies in college -- please don't graduate regretting your college debt and decisions. Think ahead starting now.

I was recently reading an article published by The New York Times (Placing the Blame as Students Are Buried in Debt by Ron Lieber). I feel that this is an extremely important issue to discuss here on the Classy Black Lady blog.

The article asks who's to blame for exorbitant student loan debt. But regardless of who is at fault, you, the college student, are the only one who can make it stop.

Young black ladies in college, this article is especially targeted for you. I was once in your shoes. I got caught up in the hype of going to the best college possible (which I did for my major) but I was not looking at the bigger picture coming from a  middle class family.

College is 4 years of fun and new experiences, but one May day all of that excitement will end. You're going to have to face the real world and all the debt you've accumulated over those 4 years.

  • That student loan debt will prevent you from getting further loans. So if you're thinking of starting your own business and applying for a small business loan, forget it. No creditor is going to want to take that type of risk if you're carrying around $50,000 or more worth of debt. 
  • Thinking about buying a home instead of continuing to rent (more throwing money down a hole)? Good luck getting a mortgage loan when they add your student loan debt into your debt-income ratio to see if you qualify.
  • In the past, credit card companies would extend you credit even though you have a large amount of debt, but nowadays that's just not so in many cases. Even if you have a high credit score.  
  • Thinking about financing a new car to celebrate your graduation? If you are approved for a car loan, you might be faced with an exorbitant interest rate of 13% or more thanks to that very expensive piece of paper (your degree).
  • You could find yourself in a constant forebearance/deferment cycle that will cause you to accumulate even more interest over your life due to your student loan.
  • With the current job market, many college graduates are finding themselves with this huge college debt bill and no income. How is that supposed to work out?

When you find yourself in this situation, where will your college be in all of this? Recruiting a fresh new group of "suckers" to fund the business. Because that's all that a college is sweetie, a business like any other.

Not only that, but many colleges even go so far as to ask former students to DONATE to their coffers.

So What Should You Do About It? 

In the face of this wake-up call that so many young people do not receive from their parents or colleges, I have a few suggestions. I'm not telling you to quit college outright, but you still have time to make some better choices.

Hindsight is 20/20. So here are my suggestions to you, young classy black ladies in college:

- Stop using credit cards. If you were lured into a credit card arrangement when you first came to college, cut it up now and get a job to pay your expenses. Trust me on this one--that college credit card can haunt you for decades.

- Transfer/Go to a less expensive college in your home state. Don't look at this as failure--this is a SMART decision that SMART people make. State colleges give you more grants and are cheaper. Don't believe the hype that going to an expensive college automatically equals a better job when you graduate like I did. IT DOESN'T. If you're thinking about going to college, consider going to a community college for 2 years then transferring to a regular college for the remainder of that time to save money.

- Avoid taking out side loans to pay your expenses. Some companies will offer you additional loan funding while you're in college to help you with expenses, and your financial aid office might even refer you to them! Say no, and struggle a bit. It is only 4 years. Get a job if you need to. Remember why you're in college--not to shop, style and party, but to get an education that will propel you to a well-paying job. Would you rather shop, style and party freely for 4 years or for as long as long as you want after spending responsibly in college?

Read the full article by Ron Lieber on the life of a student buried in debt after college here to see what's in your future if you continue to take out more and more college loans.



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