College loans are something every student tries to avoid. What, then, are your other options for paying for college?
One avenue some take is asking for loans or donations from friends and family. I was curious as to what our community thought about loaning money to a family member or close friend for their education, so I took the question to Facebook to find out.
The general consensus seemed to be that loans are a bad idea, donations are okay, but there are much better ways to help someone achieve their dreams of completing their college education.
Paying for College: Loans Are a Bad Idea
At PerkStreet we take a strong stance against taking on debt if it can be avoided, even if it’s between family or friends. It’s clear our community feels the same way.
Jordan T. says, “In my experience a loan is never a good idea…expecting a payment back always fosters hard feelings.”
Erin M. agrees: “Money exchange between family and friends never works out well! Unless it’s someone’s parents, but even then it can get a little tricky.” This brings us to my next question: What about donations?
Paying for College: Donations Aren’t Much Better
In its purest form, a donation is seen to be a gesture that comes from the heart. But many people are uncomfortable asking for money as a loan, and it can be even more difficult knowing you’re asking for someone to pay for your education without giving them anything in return.
The PerkStreet community collectively voiced that donations are better than loans, because there isn’t the expectation of getting a payment back — there’s a lesser chance feelings will be hurt. However, other creative ways of helping someone through this important time in their life that aren’t necessarily monetary are what really stood out to me in the answers.
Paying for College: Non-Monetary Options
If you think about it, when you go to college you’re not just paying for class, you also need to eat, and buy books. Plus, searching for a college is an adventure in itself. Why not help someone out with these situations?
Amy P. suggests, “Perhaps I’d give them gift cards to grocery stores, restaurants (or) the college bookstore.”
Erin M. offers options for moral support: “Other ways that I’m helping support family or friend’s dreams are visiting campuses with them, exploring open houses, helping them figure out where to find different types of loans, etc. You never know what sort of things you might come across that they didn’t.”
Although there are alternative ways to help family and friends out when it comes to their college education, some students will inevitably have to take out loans. There is a new company working to make it easier, though.
Asking for Financial Help for College Just Got Easier
A new company in Natick, Massachusetts, called Knowledge Strong is working on building a service that allows students to build a profile and reach out to their personal network for donations to put towards their education.
Anonymous donors can also choose students that they would like to donate to. This will hopefully take out some of the discomfort of asking for a donation in person, and allow students who are really passionate about their education get the help that would otherwise be largely unavailable to them.
Would you loan or donate money to a family or friend for their education? Would you ask for it if you needed it? Tell me your opinion in the comments blow!