After receiving his MBA degree, debt-free, Isaac Hess got a well-paying job at a marketing research firm in Cincinnati. He has no regrets about choosing U. of I. over more expensive schools with higher rankings.
"Many people who get an MBA graduate with $100,000 in debt," Hess said. "When choosing a graduate school people don't really think about how much debt they are incurring, and whether it will really pay off in the long run."
More strategies: Weiss said college debt can be a good thing, but only if its is used wisely. He offered strategies for keeping borrowing at a minimum. He recommends attending a community college — where tuition is typically half as much as at four-year schools, then transferring credits to a more prestigious school.
"Speaking as an employer, if I were filling a position that required a college degree, it would matter less to me where the student started than where they ended up," he said.
Taking tests to knock out credits and beginning interest payments while still in school are other strategies he approves. Weiss also recommends that students experience a "Zen moment" regarding the monthly payment attached to any loan they consider.
"There are plenty of online tools for figuring out whether it will be affordable," he said. "You shouldn't borrow more than you would reasonably expect to earn in your first year out of college, and payments should be less than 10 percent of your gross salary. Give yourself breathing room."
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