Going to college is one of the greatest and most memorable things that a young person will ever do. When the time comes to pack your bags and leave home, you know that you’re starting the next great adventure in your life. Unfortunately, colleges cost a lot of money; it is not rare for public colleges to cost upwards of $25,000 per year, and private institutions easily cost $45,000 or more a year. This cost can cause quite the financial burden and can take the joy out of going to college. Thankfully, there are lots of opportunities in scholarships and student loans that help take fiscal pressure off students, so that you can relax and enjoy your college experience. But what should you be aiming for, scholarships or student loans? Here are the pros and cons of each:
Pros of Scholarships
Scholarships are fabulous because when you are granted a scholarship you are essentially given free money to use on your education. A scholarship is a monetary gift from an institution or organization to help you pay for school; as a result, you never have to worry about repaying a scholarship. This can take a lot of stress off of you.
Furthermore, there are many different scholarships; from ones offered just in your community to larger nationwide scholarships that anyone can apply to, there is a seemingly endless amount of scholarships out there. Plus, you can find scholarships that specifically fit you; for instance, if you’re passionate about math, your future college or an organization nearby may offer scholarships for those planning on studying math. If you look around, you’ll find that there is no shortage of scholarships, and you’ll probably find some that are just right for you.
Cons of Scholarships
Scholarships can be very difficult to get. Since they are free money for school, they are really just a competition for money. As you would expect, the competition is fierce. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get any scholarships; in fact, the odds are usually against you. And some scholarships (naturally, the easier ones to get) are for a very modest amount of money.
Pros of Student Loans
Virtually everybody qualifies for student loans. Unlike scholarships, you don’t have to win any difficult contests or labor over any academic applications. If you need student loans, you can almost assuredly get some to make your college dream a reality. Student loans also routinely come in much larger amounts than scholarships, meaning that they can help you make it to even one of the most expensive schools in the nation.
Cons of Student Loans
Student loans are just that . . . loans. They’re not a gift; you don’t just get to enjoy the money. Student loans have to be paid back, usually starting a year after your graduation. During the time it takes you to pay off your loans, they accrue interest, meaning that you end up having to pay back a lot more than you borrowed.
Both scholarships and student loans have their strengths and their weaknesses. Many people use scholarships to help pay for college, many people use student loans, and many more use both. Since they both help you accomplish your dream of graduating college, there’s no right answer for which is better. It depends on the person and the scenario.