By Lissette Camacho Morales
Student debt and regrets come in all shapes and sizes. By applying to schools without giving much thought to how to pay for college, many consumers leave money on the table.
Many of these borrowers don’t exhaust all the federal financial aid they are entitled to. Instead, they opt for convenient quick fixes likely to have a negative impact on their ability to repay post-graduation.
In this blog post, I introduce you to college consumers most likely to say yes to student debt even when it is not in their best interest. You may even recognize your own potential financial aid blind spot among these examples.
Brand Loyal Consumers Apply Now and Figure Out How to Pay for College Later
These parents and teens are brand loyal to a fault. Brand loyal college consumers wouldn’t be caught dead at a financial safety school. You know the type.Brand loyal college consumers wouldn't be caught dead at a financial safety school. Click To Tweet
They didn’t come this far just to end up at Yahoo College in No Man’s Land. They live in hot pursuit of the easily recognizable pedigree of a brand name school, generally located on the über expensive west or east coast.
Brand loyal consumers pledge their allegiance to a particular type of institution for a whole host of different reasons.
Some will only apply to schools with winning NCAA Division I sports teams. Others hope to rub elbows with the children of Hollywood stars. Still others dream of beating all the odds to get into any one of the eight Ivy League schools.
Despite key differences, these college consumers tend to have one thing in common. As the Spanish saying goes, they are willing to “throw the house out of the window” of the home they don’t own to make the dream a reality.
In other words, sky’s the limit. And what’s wrong with that? After all, that is what student loans are for. Right? #YOLO
Consumers Craving Closure Apply Now and Figure Out How to Pay for College Later
They tend to like a planned and organized approach to life. They pride themselves on getting things done. Even so, they are not immune to the stress of the eighteen month-long college admissions process with all its moving parts.
More than anything, they want to have things settled. Desperate for closure, they are prone to sign on the dotted line for loans without taking the time to read the fine print.
These folks start off with the best of intentions and tend to lose momentum as they enter the home stretch. To be fair, the financial aid game was rigged in favor of the school right from the start.
Let’s face it. Who can afford to hire a team of consultants to figure out just how little aid they can offer and still get you to sign off on it? Colleges and Universities can, that’s who.
Double-Minded Consumers Apply Now and Figure Out How to Pay for College Later
They lose sleep over the fact that they have not saved enough for college. They worry that their child won’t get into their dream school.But the thing they worry about the most is that their child will get into their dream school… Click To Tweet
But the thing they worry about the most is that their child will get into their dream school and they won’t be able to afford it. Believe it or not, that’s their dirty little secret.
They know that no good can come of breaking the budget, but they can’t imagine disappointing their child.
They have always managed to scrimp and save to find a way to make things happen for their kids so why should college be any different? Besides their kid is going to pay it all back anyway. That is how this works. Right?
Married, Single and Divorced Consumers Apply Now and Figure Out How to Pay for College Later
Double the number of sleepless nights for blended families, divorced parents, single parents and parents of valedictorians most likely to go through the five stages of grief when the college admissions process doesn’t measure up to expectations.
Some work two jobs just to make ends meet. Others work fourteen hours a day to provide their family with the kind of lifestyle they never had.
For the sake of the kids they may not say what they’re thinking, but inside their heads the perfect storm is brewing. Listen closely and these are some of the things you might hear on any given day:
“Signing on the dotted line is a small price to pay so that my kid doesn’t end up like me.”
“My kid shouldn’t miss out on his or her dream school just because of a deadbeat mom or dad.”
“My child is exceptional. Nobody deserves this more.”
In the end, they are either too sleep-deprived, guilt ridden or both not to sign for the loan. The list could go on and on, but you get the idea.
Head Over Heels In Love Consumers Apply Now and Figure Out How to Pay for College Later
On the rare occasion that their feet touch the ground, these starry-eyed college consumers will tell themselves and the college consultant they hired to save them money,
“It’s only an additional $20,000+ in loans a year. Besides all of our friends’ children have racked up 200k in debt. Compared to that this is a steal of a deal.”
They didn’t mean to fall in love with the rock-climbing wall at the college, but they did. They never dreamed of going to a school with a lazy river right in the middle of campus, but now they can’t imagine life without it.
The truth is, the college had both you and your kid sold at the first sight of the sushi bar. Click To TweetThe truth is, the college had both you and your kid sold at the first sight of the all you can eat sushi bar.
These folks sign on the dotted line for student debt all because the heart wants what the heart wants.
Ignorance Is Not Bliss When It Comes To Figuring Out How to Pay for College
It’s up to you to take an active role in understanding student loan repayment and debt burdens before committing to them. Student debt is the only debt that cannot be discharged by filing bankruptcy. What does this mean for you? As it stands now, not knowing the best ways to borrow is no excuse for not paying.
The first step in taking ownership of your education is to educate yourself about all the college options available to you. Commit to becoming a smart college shopper and insist on both a good academic and financial college fit to cut the cost of college.
Start the process of becoming a proactive college consumer by identifying your potential financial aid blind spot.
Which of these college consumers comes closest to shining the light on your blind spot?
Share your thoughts in the text box below.
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Reading Corner. For additional help with school choice check out John Zurick’s recent blog post. Want to learn more about the profound impact student debt is having on young Americans? Click here to read the full 72 page ASA report.