TCU Daily Skiff Wednesday, April 21, 2004
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Advice may lessen student loan debt
Student loans can cause stress for students after college, says a financial adviser.

By Erica Parker
Staff Reporter

Students annoyed with college loans might want to stop by Sadler Hall to heed advice from the financial aid office, because it may alleviate future debt problems.

“I do what I can to impart the knowledge to students about financial aid,” said Micah Marin, financial aid adviser and TCU graduate. “Of course, I can’t walk around giving every student a grant, but I can share my experience.”

The average loan for students nationally is $20,000 annually, and for TCU it’s approximately $25,000, Marin said.

When Marin was fresh out of college he taught elementary school, private piano lessons, church Bible study and worked in sales at a jewelry store all at one time to pay off his $30,000 college loan and other bills.

“I hated my life at that point because I was doing too much,” he said.

Marin said he finally woke up one morning and told himself he needed to change.

“Had I known what I know now, my experience would have been less stressful. I would have taken more summer school classes, transferred credit hours in and applied for more scholarships,” Marin said.

Marin said he wished he was wiser about spending money and warns students to not make the decisions he made.

“Students have to be smart with loans,” Marin said. “They are maintainable to pay off, but credit card debt and other expenses make it hard to pay the loans off.”

Credit cards are an evil students fall for and can jeopardize students’ ability to get financial aid, Marin said. Students who don’t pay their credit card and loan payments get their wages garnished and can’t have federal jobs, he said.

“Students should ask themselves whether or not TCU is worth the money they’re paying for, because if TCU is, then they can delay spending money on Prada shoes and the matching pants for their education,” Marin said.

Sophomore nursing major Kathryn B. Armstrong said TCU is worth the money because it is one of the cheapest private schools, but said she is frustrated by TCU’s rising cost.

Armstrong said she is unhappy about TCU not giving her enough grants and scholarships, because her financial aid package consists primarily of loans.

Carmela Smith, a sophomore radio-TV-film major, works at the university library and Blockbuster video to pay for her current school expenses and is saving up to pay off her current $16,000 in loans accumulated over two years.

Paying back school loans may cause students to delay their dream career for an alternative job that will help them pay expenses, Smith said.

“People come into TCU with their hearts set on a desirable career, but they might have to change their career in order to pay off loans,” Smith said. “I want to work behind the scenes in production, cinematography and eventually become an actress, but I might have to work elsewhere to pay off loans. I don’t want to be stuck in Fort Worth and be settled with any job.”
TCU Daily Skiff ©2004
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