Your Path to Graduation

You’ve probably heard many ideas about how long it should take to graduate. Perhaps you’ve heard that graduating in four years is the standard. Or maybe you’ve heard something along the lines of “No one graduates in four years anymore.” Let’s take a closer look at this issue, and make sure you understand the benefits, obstacles, and myths surrounding different graduation timelines.  
 
Let’s start by checking out the facts for undergraduate time to degree. For the most recent year's bachelor's degree recipients:
 
59% graduated in 4 academic years or less
91% graduated in 5 academic years or less
 
Why graduate in 4 years?
 
There are many things to consider when you are planning your graduation timeline, and for many students, the deciding factor comes down to money. If you’re largely relying on student loans to pay for your education, it’s important to be aware of how staying longer than necessary will affect you financially. Let’s look at the benefits of graduating in 4 years:
 
►Get an early start on your career
 
That one extra semester or even year may not seem like a lot, but don’t forget you’re missing out on time you could be entering the workforce, and starting to pay back your loans. The 2013 average starting salary for university graduates was $45,000.
 
►Manage your money wisely
 
Each semester you add will cost you around $10-12,000, (and about $20,000 if you’re a non-resident student in tuition). Remember, you have to add on for books, supplies, room & board, travel, and personal expenses.
 
►Accrue less Interest on student loans
 
While the government pays the interest on your subsidized student loans, your unsubsidized student loans are accruing interest even while you’re in school.
 
What that means is a $5,000 loan taken out at the beginning of your freshmen year with a 6.8% interest rate will have grown approximately to:
 
$6,557 when you graduate at 4 years
$6,784 when you graduate at 4.5
$7,018 when you graduate at 5 years
$7,510 when you graduate at 6!
 
 
*These estimates were created using a Student Loan Calculator found on www.finaid.org and assume no payments were made on the principal or interest of the loan during this time period.
 
 
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