Making the Right Choice
When you decide its time for a career change, or in some cases, a career start, many people turn to college to help them get started. The enrollment process can be scary and often times confusing. You are faced with a big decision and most of all; a huge investment. When making the decision to attend a vocational career college, don’t be fooled by the numbers that are placed in front of you.
Don’t let federal grants trick you. At vocational schools that accept federal student aid, something that is always seen as “bait”, is the federal grant money. These schools will never state their tuition on their websites, or even it disclose it to you over the phone. They’ll tell you “it’s covered by federal financial aid. Not So!
Once in the admissions counselor’s office, they’ll tempt you into enrolling in their $18,000 full-time, 9-month program by telling you about the “free” money you can receive. What they don’t tell you, is that these grants will not pay for the entirety of the school’s cost. Depending on what amount you qualify for, it may pay for a fraction of the total tuition and books, leaving you with an additional $14,000 to $16,000 balance. You may also need to take a federal student loan out to pay for the remaining balance, or in some cases the entire balance of the tuition if you don’t qualify for the grant.
Federal student loans are often perceived as a great idea when applying to accredited schools. They offer low-interest rates and small minimal payments.
There are however, a few things that are left out when accepting these loans. For one, all loan payment amounts are based on a 10-year term.
What they also don’t tell you, is over a minimal of a 10-year span, your interest on your loan will often result in a four to five thousand dollar interest gain alone. Your new student loan of $16,000 could very well end up being $21,000. That “free” grant money you were awarded, you are paying back in interest. Pell grants (free money) average $4,800.
They will tell you that the minimal payments with federal student aid loans are often based on $50 a month payment. Don’t be fooled by this. By simply paying the minimum amount, you have not even begun to pay the principle, or even the beginning balance, of your loan. That means you are simply just paying off the interest. Just like when purchasing a home the first 15 years or so are purely applied to interest on the home loan. This will result in the extension of your loan, often by 10-15 years, which also means you may be paying nearly double of what your original amount would be!
Expensive multi-program, multi-campus schools depend heavily on federal money to survive. In fact, 95% of their revenues are derived from this. Tuitions are very high to cover the costs of maintaining the heavy investment in fancy buildings and labs designed to attract students, huge instructional, administrative, and maintenance staff, and marketing. The hefty loans students take out called Guaranteed Student Loans (GSL) are easy to get for the student, but the result is that you’ll end up with hefty loans to pay back that will take up more than 12% of your annual net income, or 30% of your discretionary income. These loans have resulted in trillions of dollars of defaulted loans (which affects your credit). So much so that the federal government has imposed stricter regulations for these schools that qualify for federal aid because of the length of time it takes students to complete the program (average is 9 months). Many of these schools are closing down every month, some of them, industry giants. They are strictly focused on shareholder profitability and not so much on the students. In fact, these schools have the highest rates of students never completing their program of study (over 46% quit halfway through) than any other type of school. And guess what? The students that dropped out still have to pay those tuition loans.
We hope these tips will help you make a more informed decision on the school you choose for your future. Here at OceanPointe Dental Assisting Academies, we offer private student loans with no hidden fees on tuitions that won’t leave you in debt for years and years to come, allowing you to graduate almost debt-free. We don’t try to trick you and your payments are always interest-free. Give us a call and we can help you with all the finance details to get you started on your new career!