Imagine earning your college degree and coming out with little to no debt.
It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
As of 2018, about 20% of U.S. residents carry student loan debt. This can be a huge barrier for graduates just getting their lives started. There are a whole bunch of methods to help you minimize that pesky debt and make your life a little easier as you venture out into the unknown. Here’s your guide to a debt-free degree.
Apply for Grants and Scholarships
Apply, apply, apply. Fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year and take advantage of every scholarship opportunity you can find. Your school probably has some, and there are hundreds of other scholarships online for people with all different talents, backgrounds and financial situations. Every little bit can help you eliminate the need for student loans.
Attend Community College First
Many students choose to start with community college and then eventually transfer to a four-year school. Because community colleges are usually cheaper, earning some of your credits at a two-year school could help you reduce major long-term expenses. This way, you can receive the education you want without taking on as much debt.
Explore “No-Loan” College Options
Looking to eliminate or reduce the amount of loan money you have to take out for school? Consider looking into “no-loan” colleges. These schools provide loan-free financial aid packages to students in need of assistance.
Policies differ between colleges. Some may have grants or scholarships available, while others might require students to work a minimum number of hours. You can still take out loans for the remaining balance if needed, but your overall bill will likely be more manageable.
Work While You Learn
Many students have part-time jobs to help cover tuition and other expenses for school. A work schedule along with classes, homework and extracurriculars could prove challenging, but the long-term benefits in terms of debt may be major. Remember to take the time to breathe and sleep every now and then to protect your health and continue performing well in classes.
Buy Third-Party Textbooks
New textbooks from your college store can be a huge expense — sometimes hundreds or even thousands of dollars. This is valuable money you could be putting toward your tuition. Try buying used books from third parties like Amazon.com and other similar sites to save big on all your course materials. Make sure to buy the right editions of the textbooks you need so you don’t wind up with anything too outdated to use in class.
Attend Online College
Did you know room and board expenses for college can add thousands of dollars to your semester bill? That’s why living at home for college or attending online classes can significantly cut prices and reduce your need for loans. Online college is often even cheaper than commuting because of the money saved on fuel — and you can learn in the comfort of your own home.
Student debt can put students at a disadvantage as they leave college with their degree, but you can find ways to reduce and even eliminate your debt with this guide. There are dozens of ways to save and earn money while you’re in school, so keep working at it. You deserve an education you can afford.
~Here’s to Your Success
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