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Whatever method of choice you still have to pay…

Photo Illustration: Kayla Stroud/SPECTATOR

Written by Tierra Bell, Staff Writer

Whether you’re an excited freshman coming into college or a senior ready to leave, many students may know the struggle of paying for an education.

According to The College Board, for the 2014-2015 school year, tuition and fees for in-state students at a public four-year college averaged $9,139. Out-of-state students paid an average of $22,958 at a four-year college. Students at a private four-year college paid an estimated $31,231.

So wherever you go for college, a lengthy bill could be waiting for you.

There are two options that may come to mind when deciding how to pay for school—taking out a loan or paying out of pocket. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

If you choose to pay out of pocket for college, you might have to give up sleeping for working. Many colleges offer jobs to students to help pay for their education.

Having a job could mean more work and less sleep. Balancing school and work can be a very difficult task, and working could interfere with your grades.

However, paying out of pocket for college means no debt. This means that you will have more money in your pocket to do whatever you want such as purchase books, groceries, or go on a shopping spree, without worrying about loans and debt.

Everyone may not be able to pay for college out of pocket. Another option to explore is applying for student loans or financial aid to see if you qualify for grants.

The downside of taking out a loan is that you could be facing debt. The class of 2015, on average, graduated with $35,051 in student debt, according to an analysis done by Mark Kantrowitz. Student debt can include student loans, money due on credit cards and money borrowed from other sources.

Another important factor to consider is how paying out of pocket or receiving student loans affect the graduation rate. Some college students that take out loans may graduate and get a good job. But low graduation rates indicate that others may not.

Payment is an extremely important factor to think about before and throughout college, because your decision can have a long-term effect on your life.

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