Yesterday, this article appeared in the MN Daily. As someone who has made very poor financial decisions in the past, I was a little dismayed by this article. In case you don't want to read it (but I suggest you do), it's about students using excess student loan money to pay for Spring Break trips.
The geeky financial aid counselor in me wants to tell these students that when they applied for financial aid, they signed a statement saying they would use the money only for educational expenses. Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see how a Spring Break trip is an educational expense.
That's not my main concern though. These students are borrowing more loan money than they need for school so they can take a trip - Money that will need to be paid back with interest. Granted, it's better than putting it on a credit card, but I think they are getting themselves on a slippery slope.
Take this comment:
"Maybe I will see it as irresponsible later down the line when I start paying it off," she said, "but right now I'm just trying to live it up and I'm young and I'm never going to live these years again."
Uh huh. Yeah. That's what I said about credit cards when I was in college and grad school. "Hey, I'm poor now but I'll be making money when I graduate and then I'll pay it off". Granted, credit cards are much worse than student loans, but it's a slippery slope (as I've already said).
And now, here I am in my mid-30s and I could have saved a down-payment for a house, or bought that scooter I've been wanting, or traveled to Ireland or Greece by now. Instead, I'm making large payments to the Bank of M&D (Mom and Dad).
Which brings me to this comment: "I don't want to ruin my college experience by worrying about finances now," she said.
Well, then you'll just worry about finances later. Maybe I'm over-reacting. Maybe these students will be fine.
Okay. Off my soapbox now. We will now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.