Is student debt worth a college you really love?

I am currently at a big state university, but don't like how large the school is, how frustrating it is to have professors who don't know me and don't really teach and I don't really fit in with the very conservative student body. I am a motivated student with good grades and test scores and got a half-tuition scholarship from the private liberal arts school I want to transfer to.

I visited the school and absolutely LOVE it. The professors seem to really care about students and teach instead of just lecturing, the advisers know the students they work with and are dedicated to helping them with career and life goals rather than just signing up for classes, there is a real community feeling, the city is great, and I would have the opportunity to play on the team for the sport I play, as it is division 3 (this would be awesome as I miss playing SO much and it was really something that gave me a sense of belonging and something to work towards in high school). I feel like I would fit in much better there and have a better college experience overall. I see college as a time to grow personally and intellectually, not just a way to get a degree and get the feeling that this college believes so, too.

My problem is that going to this school would cost more than is in my college fund and I would go about 20k in student loan debt. I plan to study abroad, which would add to the costs. Where I am now, I would actually have money left over to pay for study abroad, etc. I am so grateful to have a college fund that can foot a great part of the tuition, but cannot decide if going in debt is worth it, even for a college I absolutely love.

I would appreciate advice you all have - especially from anyone who has experience or who has had to make a similar decision. Also, anyone who went to a liberal arts college, why was it worth it to you to choose that over a public state school?

Thanks all!

3 Answers

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  • DS
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    It is only worth it if your future career can afford to pay it back. Engineering? Economics? Accounting? Finance? Computer Science/IT/info systems? Go for it, you'll make the money back soon enough because these majors lead to actual careers. Business admin can go in this list too if you apply yourself and seek out internships.

    Any liberal arts degree like english, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, etc etc etc. No, you will simply saddle yourself with debt and since those majors don't usually lead to high paying careers (there are exceptions of course) you will have debt and no good way of paying it off. Not worth it.

  • 8 years ago

    It is well worth it if your take a major that leads to a well paying job. But if your major is in the humanities and does not lead to a job then it is not worth it.

    My daughter transferred to a private school she loved and she owed $30,000 when she graduated. However, she took economics which is a very employable degree.

    She is now getting her PhD in civil engineering and makes enough while at school she already paid off halg her undergrad debt. She will have the rest paid within a year of her graduation with her PhD.

  • 8 years ago

    I chose a private liberal arts school (with a substantial but not full scholarship) over the honors college at my state university with a full ride. Even though paying the loans back sucks (and I have less than half the loans you will have) it was definitely worth it to me. However, this is partially because my school prepared me so well for grad school and I came into my grad program as a comparatively stronger student than people from the top state schools. If you're not planning on grad school or you're in a field where the name recognition afforded by a large state school is more important, you might be better off graduating with no debt.

    $20,000 in debt is not too bad, particularly if you're in a major with decent job prospects. But you do need to take a hard, realistic look at what kind of job you'll REALISTICALLY have once you graduate and whether you can afford those loan payments. You should also remember that the grass is always greener. A new school may be a better fit for you, but it will not solve all your problems, and with the right attitude you'll be happy no matter what decision you make.

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