Plenty of students work so they can pay their way through college, or at least reduce the amount they have to borrow. But some jobs are more lucrative than others. Stripping, for example, falls into that category.
A University of Maryland student covers her tuition costs (and then some) by taking a train to New York every other weekend to work as an exotic dancer, according to a story from WMAR Baltimore. She makes about $180,000 a year. (Payscale says the typical annual income range for an exotic dancer is anywhere from $20,000 to $142,000.)
Six figures for working every other weekend? That’s pretty fantastic. This might not be the job choice for everyone — including some of the roughly 20 million college students in the U.S — but Maggie (who didn’t give the TV station her last name), seems more than happy with her choice. She has to have plenty of spending money, too: Tuition at the University of Maryland was $23,581 this year for state residents. It was $42,767 for out-of-state students.
Maggie isn’t alone — she says 24 dancers at the club where she works are also students. A Leeds University study from 2011 found that about a third of strippers were students, but there’s not a comprehensive look at the numbers for U.S. strippers.
Unlike Maggie, a majority of students have to take out loans to finance their educations — student debt in the U.S. now totals $1.3 trillion. She’s smart for finding a way around it, because student debt is no picnic. In affordable amounts, loans can be extremely helpful and well worth the investment, but graduates with debt loads that exceed their salaries often find themselves in financially stressful situations: not enough money to move out of Mom and Dad’s, pay bills or save for things like a new car, a home or retirement.
Education may be a gateway to moving forward in society, but student debt can seriously hinder that progress. Getting rid of student loans isn’t easy (there are some tricks people try that won’t work), and depending on your individual financial situation, it shouldn’t always be the top priority — like in these situations — but there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re on the right path:
If you have the opportunity to earn supplemental income, you can use that cash to accelerate your debt reduction. It doesn’t have to be as bold or well-paying as becoming an exotic dancer, either — a few hundred bucks over the course of a year can have a huge impact.
Finally, always make your loan payments on time, because not only will that help you reduce your student loan debt, it helps you boost your credit standing along the way (you can see how student loans are affecting your credit scores for free on Credit.com). If you can pay more than what’s due toward the principle, even if it’s just a little bit, you can save money in the long run by reducing the amount of interest the loan could potentially incur.