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Give Thanks for Your College Education – Your Degree Matters!

Is going to college and earning a degree really worth it? According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, the answer is “yes.” Earnings increase and unemployment rates decrease with education level. Their studies show:

  • Workers with a bachelor’s degree had median weekly earnings of $1,305 in 2020, compared with $781 for workers with a high school diploma. An associate’s degree brings earnings in between those numbers, around $938.

This means over the course of your lifetime, your degree could provide hundreds of thousands of dollars more in income.

  • The unemployment rate for bachelor’s-level workers was 5.5 percent, compared with 9.0 percent for those whose highest level of education was a high school diploma.

Need another reason to be thankful for your degree? The College Board found that 64% of workers with bachelor’s degrees and 70% of workers with advanced degrees had employer-provided healthcare coverage, compared to 52% of high school graduates.

But what about the rising costs of college and student loan debt? 

Of course, college isn’t free. But as of March 2020, 55% of borrowers owed less than $20,000 in outstanding education debt; 56% of bachelor’s degree recipients in 2018-2019 had an average of $28,800 in student loan debt. (Source: College Board) The increased earnings from your degree over a lifetime will likely offset your student loan debt.

It’s also important to pay for college responsibly to minimize any debt. Start with what we consider free money for college: scholarships and grants that do not have to be paid back. Next, look to federal student loans that come with low interest rates and a benefits such as income-based repayment plans and public service student loan forgiveness. Last, cover any remaining need with private student loans like those offered by our credit union partners.

If you’re already paying back your student loans, you could consider refinancing to save on payments and interest over time.

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*APR = Annual Percentage Rate

In order to apply for a loan, you must first pick an individual credit union from which you wish to borrow. You can apply for the loan without being a member of the credit union you select, but you will need to become a member of that credit union in order to receive a funded loan. Therefore, it's important that you select a credit union that you will be eligible to join. Credit union membership requirements can include where you live, work, or attend school. Results are based on membership criteria provided by individual credit unions and do not imply a guarantee regarding accuracy or eligibility to join the listed credit union(s).

Calculations are based on the lowest possible rate and available repayment terms per lender. Rate estimates are based on credit information entered by the user and will not impact your credit. During the application process, a hard credit inquiry will be performed to provide exact rate information. Repayment calculations assume immediate full repayment. View the full range of rates and terms by visiting your credit union's website using links listed for each credit union above.

Using the free student loan refinance calculator does not constitute an offer to receive a loan and will not solicit a loan offer. Any payments and savings will depend on the actual amounts for which you are approved, should you choose to apply. This calculator is provided for educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as financial advice. Always consult your credit union or financial advisor when making your decision.

IMPORTANT NOTICE for refinance borrowers: By refinancing federal student loans, you may lose certain borrower benefits from your original loans. These may include interest rate discounts, principal rebates, or some cancellation benefits that can significantly reduce the cost of repaying your loans. Please review this important disclosure for more information.

Your actual rate within the range stated will be disclosed upon approval. Student borrowers may apply with a creditworthy cosigner which may result in a better chance of approval and/or interest rate.