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Taking Out a Student Loan? Listen To This First!

OnPoint, a radio production of WBUR and NPR, ran a story this past week  called The Dark Side of Student Loans. The featured guest is Alan Michael Collinge, founder of and author of the new book “The Student Loan Scam: The Most Oppressive Debt in U.S. History – and How We Can Fight Back.” Publisher’s Weekly apparently calls it “whistle-blowing at its finest.”

This story should be required listening for any student or parent considering taking out a student loan to pay for college tuition and expenses.

Parents and students should, indeed, consider “return on investment” before enrolling in an expensive degree program.

But more than that, parents and students should develop a decent strategy of selecting the right college BEFORE they get admitted and are faced with a lousy financial aid package.  Do the research!  Don’t just sign the loan papers and then plead, “gosh, I had no idea!”

As I have written many times, colleges and universities are businesses.  They act like businesses.  They talk about “filling beds” and “sales leads.”  And yes, they use financial aid programs to their advantage…not to the advantage of the student.  This is not really surprising, is it?

What is surprising is that too few families have blinkers on when it comes to financing a college education.  Doing some solid research well before the applications are submitted will help mitigate the anger and hurt (and debt) that can come after the diploma is framed.

Mark Montgomery
Educational Planner

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