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Nurses earn $14,000 less per year than optometrists — but are only using half the amount of monthly income toward student loans as these doctors.

A nurse pays 7 percent of their monthly income to student loans, while an optometrist pays 15 percent of theirs, says a study from student loan refinancing company Credible.

In this roundup, we go over college-related expenses. From students not filing for governmental assistance to college graduates wrecking their credit as soon as they finish school.

Return on investment

An undergraduate degree isn’t always a professional move. Some students attend college for self-discovery, and to become more well-rounded. Graduate school is different. Those degrees gear students toward specific professions, and some make better investments than others.

Credible polled over 91,000 student loan borrowers from 16 different graduate degrees to find which professions have borrowers using the lowest chunk of their monthly income to pay their loans back…

  • Computer science: 6.4 percent
  • MBA: 6.8 percent
  • Finance: 7 percent
  • Nursing: 7.1 percent
  • Accounting: 7.2 percent

Most students don’t research how much they’ll need to borrow compared to how much they’ll earn post-graduation, the study says.

“When choosing graduate school programs, it’s easy for students to get distracted by potential high salaries, regardless of the student loan debt incurred,” says Stephen Dash, founder and CEO of Credible. “Our analysis shows that students who balance student loan debt against their future earnings are often in a better financial position to pay back their loans.”

Of course, there are students whose life dream is to become a veterinarian or dentist. However, those who are on the fence with graduate school should soul search before taking on the extra debt. To help borrowers better understand how student loans work, members of Congress are working to get a bill, The College Transparency Act, signed to grant more access to information on college degrees to students, according to the study.

“There’s been progress in providing access to information about what college will actually cost,” Dash says. “But we need more transparency to help students get a handle on what they will earn after graduation, and how much debt those earnings will support.”

Research suggests it’s better off to focus on your building up your credit before borrowing more money for school.

Ruined credit before career starts

Talk about a rude awakening from the real world.

Sixty-nine percent of recent college graduates damage their credit right after graduation, says a study from OppLoans, an online lender.

The most common financial mistakes recent graduates make…

  • 58 percent: Exceed 30 percent of their credit limit after graduation
  • 51 percent:  Miss a credit card payment by 30 days
  • 45 percent: Pay their student loans late
  • 29 percent: Had a utility bill in their name sent to a collection agency
  • 29 percent: Paid federal student loans over 90 days late
  • 19 percent: Paid private student loans more than 45 days late

“This survey shows that many college students are making early mistakes that can do lasting damage to their credit,” says Matt Pelkey, who led the research for OppLoans. “They’re starting off on the wrong foot, and many probably don’t understand the consequences.”

To help minimize student loans and other debts while in college, more students can apply for federal student assistance — but many don’t.

Free money left behind

Students are too discouraged to apply for tuition help that they don’t need to pay back.

Only half (52 percent) of students enrolled in the 2018-2019 school year have filled out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, according to a study from private student loan lender College Avenue Student Loans.

Those students who haven’t may be interested in filing. It’s free, and the amount that those who did apply receive may give higher incentive to try. Seventy-five percent received merit aid, which is financial aid that recipients do not have to pay back, the study says.

About half (55 percent) say they earned $10,000 in merit aid for their college tuition. For 19 percent of students that aid increased over the course of their undergraduate degree. It decreased by 26 percent and stayed the same for 41 percent.

Some students receive aid one time, then never ask again. Of students who received merit financial aid, only 26 percent asked for more aid for future terms. In the end, 37 percent wish they’d asked for more aid while in school, and 83 percent wish they had researched more scholarships.

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Meet the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of

College, Credit & Debt

student loans

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