Whether it came from a parent or a well-meaning teacher, everyone has received advice telling them to get a degree if they want a fruitful job. However, the process isn’t that simple, and many take out hefty student loans to work around steep university expenses. Often, student loans are referred to as good debt because students use the money to help them obtain a degree and land a high-paying job to pay off debts. But graduating college debt-free is possible.
While many career paths require a degree, academic advisors and parents often neglect to mention the career path you choose shouldn’t lead to insurmountable debt. Sadly, racking up exorbitant student loans has become customary as more students fall prey to incurred interest and steep paybacks.
While college can prepare you for your future profession and offer you a diverse range of academic experiences, you should familiarize yourself with the costs associated with your degree and your future earning potential. Many students rush into college without taking the time to weigh the cost of their education versus their future profession, causing them to fall deep into a pit of debt.
As individuals struggle to pay off their student loans, their credit scores often plummet, along with their chances of purchasing a home or car. In addition, those who slack on student loan payments also risk having their wages garnished and tax returns withheld. If you are a soon-to-be college student, investigate ways to reduce your debt and save yourself future stress and financial burden.
Search for scholarships
One of the most significant ways to save money on college expenses is scholarships, as they don’t require repayment. However, searching high and low for the scholarships takes time and effort, as you sift through applications not worth your time versus opportunities that could save you money.
To cut down on time and increase your chances of success, begin by utilizing a scholarship finder, start applying early, and contact the school you’ll be attending to see which scholarships they offer.
Sign up for grants
While filling out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), be sure to sign up for generous grants. Grants are offered based on financial need, and qualifying allows you access to non-repayable funding to help you through school without taking out loans.
Sign up for dual enrollment while in high school
Most high schools offer dual credit classes through local community colleges, allowing students to take a high school class while receiving college credit. Dual enrollment coursework challenges you without university courses’ high-price and enables you to get ahead on your degree before you step foot onto campus.
Join the military
The federal government, along with nonprofit organizations, provides funding opportunities for military members and veterans. Those eligible receive tuition assistance and some situations warrant full-coverage for university costs.
Find schools with lower tuition rates
One of the easiest ways to cut down on student debt is to attend a school with lower tuition rates. Although prices vary by school, in-state colleges are usually the cheapest option, and private universities are generally more expensive. If you don’t qualify for other cost-saving measures, attending an in-state school is one of the best ways to reduce college expenses.
The bottom line
Beginning the journey into college life is filled with excitement and anxieties as you navigate an entirely new world. Without proper planning and preparation, you may find yourself drawing in hefty course loads and mass amounts of debt. However, through financial assistance and lower-tuition schools, you can leave—degree in hand—without years of repayment.