I read this question Does rigor/thoroughness of undergraduate program matter (for graduate/PhD applications)? and became very worried when I saw everyone blasting the OP for contemplating graduating in three years. The general consensus was that there was no reason at all to graduate early and that the lack of additional experience would hurt your chances at graduate school. I am concerned because I am graduating with only 2.5 years because I can only barely afford this by maxing out all loans. I would love to be able to develop greater depth in my field. Instead it has been a constant sprint to finish before I run out of money completely. I was rejected from every top ten university, and the one token safety school I got into jacked up the price as soon as they found I had nowhere to go.
Are the criticisms that finishing too fast valid in the context of extreme debt? I am saving over $100,000 by finishing early, will this reason be accepted by graduate schools? I see that graduate students do not have to pay tuition and get a small stipend, this sounds like a wonderful way to pursue an education and is very attractive to me right now. I feel that my education is rushed and I have not had the time to contemplate open research questions which are very important for graduate admissions. Graduate school is also the path to a job in research labs or academia.
edit: I have done well enough (6th in graduating class unless I mess up). They offer to tack on a year for a masters at your current rate, which is touted as a way extend finiancial aid. This is untenable for me.