BIG DREAMS: College Degree Worth the Debt

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Devon and Martha are two high school juniors with big dreams.

“I want to go pre-med and study pediatric oncology,” said Martha Murrane, a student at Carroll High School.

“I’m looking into engineering. Engineering is the biggest one,” Carlisle High School student, Devon Wenthe told Channel 13 News.

They hope to reach them without racking up student loans that could hold them back when they graduate.

“If I want to go into medical school, I don’t want to have a lot of debt and being stressed out right when I get out of college,” said Murrane.

They’re not alone.

At the Golden Circle College Fair in Des Moines, recruiters from 150 schools answered all sorts of questions.

The most common ones related to student loan debt.

According to the Project on Student Debt, 2/3 of students have loan debt, averaging $25,000 dollars.

Even in a tough job market, recruiters like Phil Caffrey from Iowa State focused on the advantages of going to college.

“If you look at the average lifetime earnings of students with a bachelor’s degree over those with a high school diploma, the difference is incredible,” said Caffrey.

Recruiters say there are ways to make an education affordable like staying in state and making sure to apply for scholarships early.

When it comes to taking out loans, students should only use them as a last resort.

“To the extent that you can minimize the expense up front and minimize the amount of loans you take out, life will be a lot easier when you get that degree.”

It’s advice that students like Devon and Martha say they found the most valuable.