I read this post at MSN Money just now about "How Much Student Loan Debt Is Too Much" and it kinda pissed me off.
It says the average student has $20k in student loans and first of all, I just don't agree with that figure. I'm no economist, but I remember at my undergrad "Exit Interview" for financial aid, they told me my loan debt was less than $20k and when I looked at the forms, all that was listed on them were my federal student loans, not the whopping $20k private loan I took out. It's just an anecdotal piece of information but then the same thing happened yesterday when I called up the Department of Education looking for some help with my private grad school loan (they didn't have it listed in their records). I know many many people who took out private loans. Hell, at my grad school it was pretty much mandatory unless you were very wealthy to begin with. I have a feeling that many more students carry more debt than the studies indicate. But that's just my two cents.
Anyway, even though, gasp, I owe a significant amount of money due to my education, I don't regret it for a minute.
After college I briefly joined the "rat race" working as a secretary in a big city. I was making good enough money considering what I was required to do, but I HATED my job and wanted something more fulfilling. Most entry level jobs are pretty much the same unless you are 1) extremely lucky or 2) extremely talented in a field.
I always knew I wanted to get a professional degree to advance my career options and it wasn't about the money for me. Sure I did the cost/benefit analysis before packing my bags, but it's so hard to predict where life will take you after graduation.
Truth be told, I am looking for a more lucrative position right now, but I currently am proud of the career choices I have made, including going back to school, and I don't think the price tag should have scared me away. I was fortunate enough to go to a very selective liberal arts college and the education I received there was invaluable. Some people think state school is a bargain and maybe for them it is. But I have no regrets.
I also think, despite the staggering amount of my student loan debt, that I can get it under control and still live the kind of life that I want.
And now I'll step off my pedestal and get back to work!