Why You Should Assess Your Financial Obligation Before Going Back to School

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Just the other day I was having a coaching session with a 27 year old young man who is between careers. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in communications one year ago. Since he could not find a communications job after graduation, he took a part time seasonal position with a major chemical company. About three weeks ago he was laid off and went on unemployment. It was at this point we had our meeting. During our discussion, he brought up the fact that he was considering going back to school and getting a master’s degree in communication. He asked me what I thought about that option.

I asked him a few questions. First, how much do you owe on your student loans? He told me it was approximately $30,000. I asked him how much it would add to his debt if he went back to college and earned his master’s degree. He replied that it would be about another $22,000 for tuition and books, plus two years of living expenses which would include a car payment and maintenance expenses, apartment, food, gas, and other miscellaneous expenses. Finally, he paused as it became clear, that if he chose to go back to school and get his master’s degree he would find himself with close to $90,000 in debt and no communications job.

Here is my point. When you are considering the option of going back to college to get a degree, it is absolutely mandatory that you take into account the financial obligation it will create for you. School loans must be repaid and can place a tremendous burden on your financial future after graduation. You will inevitably have ongoing bills after graduation that will be added to your previously incurred financial obligations. Taking all of that into consideration, you must be reasonably sure that your degree will lead to a career, that over time, will allow you to recoup your investment in your educational degree.

To simply go back to school to escape the plight of searching for your ideal job, is not advisable. A college degree could be an excellent resource that can help you in landing the communications job of your dreams. However, it would be wise to investigate alternative options before deciding to commit to incurring additional financial debt.

The possibility of going to work for a company that has tuition reimbursement might be an option that would allow you to reach the same goal without plunging yourself into a financial quagmire. Another option would be to assess if a communications degree is really what you need. Quite possibly there may be other fields you could start in, that may be better suited for the education you already have. A career path in a different field, that would involve an ongoing work experience, might be the best solution.

In summary, explore all options before making the decision to go back to college. Your benefit is that you will make a much wiser choice.

Tom Borg is a consultant in leadership management, team building and customer service. Please see more of his blogs at CommunicationsJobsBlog.net and businessworkforceblog.com. To view additional job postings go to Nexxt

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  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks for the comment, Amy. Student loan debt can have a huge impact on someone's financial future. Going back to school for an advanced degree adds to the debt, but for some, it can be a worthwhile investment.
  • Amy J
    Amy J
    If you are going back to school as an older student you probably have many obligations.  It is smart to weigh the price of going back to school verses the advantages of having a higher degree.  No matter when you are going to school I highly recommend talking with the people at applyingtoschools.com for help in choosing a school that both meets your needs and desires.

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