Dave Ramsey: Avoid student loan debt

Dear Dave: I’m 45 years old and a single mom. I have a decent job, but I want to go back to school to become a nurse. The money would be much better than what I make now, but I’d have to take out student loans to make this happen. Is it worth the risk?


Dear Susan: Is nursing a field worth pursuing, especially when it is something you love and would increase your income significantly? You bet! Nursing is a very honorable profession. Am I going to tell you to take out loans to make it happen? Absolutely not!

Save as much as you possibly can first — even if it’s just a little each month. Then, I want you to look into Pell Grants, traditional and non-traditional scholarships and what I call the “indentured servitude” program. There’s still something of a nurse shortage in this country, and there are hospitals and drug companies that will agree to pay your school bills if you go to work for them afterwards for a specific number of years.

I’m proud of you, Susan. Gaining knowledge and improving yourself and your career prospects are all good things. But stay away from student loan debt. It’s bad and unnecessary.


Dave’s latest project, EveryDollar, provides a free online budget tool. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at