Graduating in the hospitality industry can be exciting, and potentially open doors to a fulfilling career. However, it can also be significantly intimidating, especially for a fresh graduate with a student loan debt to service.
This is not to mention other factors, such as job uncertainty and the high tuition costs often associated with hospitality courses in certain regions.
For new graduates starting their career journey, these and other factors can make it seem a little scary, but it doesn’t have to be!
This piece outlines a few reasons why student loans can be hard on you as a fresh hospitality graduate, alongside some tips on how to make the journey ahead easier.
A Struggling Industry Means Fewer Prospects of a Solid Job
Especially after Covid-19, navigating the hospitality industry can be difficult for a fresh, out of college grad. Many businesses are still recovering from the effects of the deadly pandemic after massive layoffs, downsizing, restructuring, and furloughs, with a significant percentage still operating with fewer people on their payroll.
The plummeted demand leaves job seekers facing an even greater challenge, as competition for positions seems to be higher than ever. And given the stiff competition that the hospitality industry faces from e-commerce alternatives like meal delivery services, it’s easy to see why many employers prefer experienced workers over fresh graduates.
Of course, it’s not so hard to secure an unpaid internship, but that doesn’t provide a financial solution to your student debt woes either. Ultimately, this makes repaying those loans significantly more difficult for new graduates in the hospitality field.
Juggling Student Loan Payments with a Declining Wage
For fresh graduates pursuing a career in hospitality, balancing loan payments with earning an insufficient wage is a tricky task. Despite working hard to secure employment in the field they studied and gained experience in, many are faced instead with having to accept lower-paying positions or internships due to increased competition at entry-level jobs.
This further compounds their other financial obligations; spending most of what little funds they have after taxes on basic everyday necessities and paying rent. This ends up in far less for student loan debt repayment and makes it difficult for new grads to take proper advantage of all available options that can help them repay those loans.
The situation is particularly frustrating for those who work overtime and still fall behind on their payments – so it’s important to know the financial options that are available in the hospitality industry, how to manage them better, and make repayment easier.
High Costs of College Study
The cost of higher education has been steadily increasing over the years and hospitality schools are no exception. Besides tuition fees, expenses such as housing, meals, books, and recreation can sometimes be overwhelming. This explains why most people opt to take a private undergraduate student loan, even if they have scholarships, a federal loan, or the guardian is partially funding their studies.
But after college, it can get even more challenging. Your bank account may have run dry as you are no longer eligible for loans, not to mention a possible increase in living expenses due to relocation after graduation.
Combined with the earlier challenges, this can make it difficult for new hospitality grads to start chipping away at their student loan payments.
Work-Life Balance Challenges in Hospitality
For fresh hospitality grads who manage to secure employment, juggling their varied responsibilities with a demanding job can be difficult. Generally speaking, employers within the industry tend to prioritize client service over employees’ mental health needs.
From long hours and unpredictable shift work to dealing with difficult customers and stressful deadlines, the industry is associated with many challenges. Some of them can make it hard for you to find some “me time”, let alone focus on clearing your student debt.
A disrupted work-life balance of this magnitude could make it sound like a nightmare to stay financially afloat as a fresh and green graduate from a hospitality program.
Forgiveness, Refinance and Other Options: Tips When You Have a Student Loan
For recent hospitality graduates with a student loan, there are a few options to help make the burden of repayment easier. If circumstances prevent you from being able to pay on time or making your full payments each month, programs such as deferment and forbearance can provide some level of relief during difficult times.
You could also look into income-based repayment plans or federal student loan forgiveness programs, especially if you are employed in the public sector or doing nonprofit work related to your field. These could potentially help reduce your overall debt load.
Although the hospitality landscape may be difficult to navigate for fresh graduates, one thing is for sure. Understanding the immediate and imminent challenges can help you make more informed decisions regarding your student loan payments. After all, it’s one of the most important financial obligations in life after college.
Developing a strategy by exploring various options and being mindful of your current financial circumstances is essential. Hopefully, the tips above have provided some guidance on how to navigate this ship through the storms.