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Travis Walters Headshot

College Debt: No Regrets Spending the Money

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I started college majoring in English at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. Though is has grown slightly, it remains a fairly small branch campus. After a few months there I realized I wanted to focus on writing more than the program there would allow. And, I didn't feel like I got as many of the opportunities that students at larger schools had. I transfered to the Savannah College of Art and Design after a year at USCB because SCAD had a dedicated nonfiction writing program.

In my second quarter at SCAD I took Nonfiction II. And, as luck would have it, so did the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. He announced the open positions at the paper in class one day. I applied for news editor and was hired. Looking back, it turns out that this was the opportunity I knew I wouldn't have at USCB.

In the rest of my classes the first question anyone asked was, "Why do you write and go to an art school?" The simple answer is that writing is an art, but I understood where they were coming from. There were a lot of required, and usually expensive, art classes. Fortunately, I also happen to like the visual arts and enjoyed my drawing and design classes.

The question I argued with, and the one they should have asked, was whether or not enjoying art negated the high cost of attendance. Scholarships and family support covered my tuition, books and supplies at USCB. I didn't have to pay anything out of pocket. SCAD, however, is a much more expensive school.

I live at home and commute 30 minutes to campus because that's cheaper than paying for housing and a meal plan. Tuition for the 2009-2010 academic year was $27,765. And, with the ever increasing cost of books, supplies, food, and everything else, I spent quite a bit of money each year.

My final debt is less than some at SCAD because I am a transfer student. In the end I'll owe approximately $60,000 in Federal and private loans. I think the worst thing that could happen now would be regretting that I spent that much money. But, I don't. I think it was worth it. I've had many opportunities to travel; to work with journalists from other universities and organizations, and to interview really interesting people at the forefront of their fields.