I remember my senior year of high school being the most stressful 180 days of my entire life. I literally went into my guidance counselor’s office and broke down crying. I can still see the look of shock that was on her face when it happened. I was always the strong one, always the one who had her stuff together and here I was, falling apart. I had lots of choices in front of me no idea what to do.
I was in love with the idea of getting away from parents, being my own person and living my once in a lifetime college experience. All my peers were starting to decorate their cars with their college choice bumper stickers. However, the practical side of me said to stay local. In hindsight I’m glad I went with my practical side. Because just like many opportunities in our lives, we romanticize the experience in our minds and we find that they reality is much much different. So if you or someone you know is trying to decide if they should go local for college, here are 4 reasons why they should.
1. So that you can forgo the college “experience”.
Yes, you read that right. Forgo meaning avoid. I’m starting with this because it’s the most important thing any young adult can get in their head. Choose now to forgo the college “experience”. Embrace right now, this moment, that the only reason you are going to college is to increase your earning potential. Forget the party life. Pretend like none of those Hollywood movies about college craziness exist. College is about paying an extremely large sum of money to help you land jobs the rest of your life.
Late night party sessions aren’t productive. They leave you tired, hung over and unable to focus in class. They can lead to lower grades. GPA does matter when you get out of college because it says a lot about your work ethic to employers. Fight to keep that GPA high by spending your time studying and going to tutoring.
2. So you can pay in-state tuition or get scholarships from the state.
In-state students pay far less in tuition that out of state. I live in GA and they have what’s known as the Hope scholarship. Many of my friends who have lived in GA their whole lives went to college almost free because they had access to the Hope Scholarship and chose to go in-state for school.
3. So you can live at home.
I literally lived at my parent’s home for free and commuted to my University until the day I graduated. I was able to live at home with minimal cost, work and go to school. I saved a good bit of money and my parents were able to cash roll my education because they only needed to pay for in-state tuition, books and a parking pass. When I graduated I didn’t have a single student loan or credit card to pay off. I landed my first job, started living and saving.
Not everyone’s parents may be able to pay cash for their in-state education but even if you lived at home, worked to pay for school, and attended a nearby University you can save some SERIOUS money and graduate as close to debt free as possible. About 10 of my friends did the same thing and wouldn’t change that decision for anything.
If you can’t live at home but are going to an in-state college, consider renting an apartment close to your school with 2-3 other people to keep the rent and utility costs low.
4. So you can get out of debt faster.
This is a biggy! One thing that people carry around on their back for years and years after college are student loans. You are borrowing money that has to be paid back. Borrowing that money comes with a bit of a “consequence” called interest. Someone is loaning you a large sum of money. In return they want to get paid for loaning you a large sum of their money. So they charge you interest. That is typically around 4.5%.
Let’s do the math…
I did a quick calculation using Bankrate.com’s loan calculator and found that if you had a $100,000 school loan with a 10 year term at 4.5% you’re looking at 1,036.38 per month for 10 years!!!! That’s a big debt to carry around especially if you ever want to buy a car or get your own house. Loans just kill you with interest. If you paid that bill over 10 years every month that $100,000 education would actually have cost you $124,365.60. You are spending $24,365.60 of your hard earned cash just to borrow that money.
As you get ready to choose the college of your dreams I want to encourage you take a hard look at the future. There is nothing wrong with applying to and attending an in-state school if they have the program that you want. I understand that some people have specialized career choices that will require a special school. I encourage you to follow your dreams and live life to the fullest. Go all YOLO if you want. If you’re going after a career that will annihilate your debt in months, great! Just remember, the future is coming for you. You can land your dream job, pay off your loans fast and move on with life. Or you can land that dream job, pay off your student loans slow and be limited with what you can enjoy because your loan is sucking the life out of your paychecks.
Don’t be afraid to consider in-state college. Your future self might just thank you.
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Kim’s is the party planning, cupcake loving, celebration catalyst behind the Thrifty Little Mom Blog. Kim was a pro event planner for over 7 years before she became a full-time blogger. Kim is the author of: Live, Save, Spend, Repeat: The Life You Want with the Money You Have. She’s been featured on Time.com, Money.com, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day and more! Kim aims to inspire you to create parties, celebrations and gatherings that everyone loves!