A college degree is now considered mandatory for many professions. In fact, some compare a college degree to the value of a high school diploma in earlier generations. Unfortunately, many college students turn to student loans–loans that are quite costly to fund their education. Luckily, there are some ways that students can earn a valuable degree (to prepare them for a career) without being overwhelmed by too much student loan debt.
A sure-fire way to reduce your debt is to just not apply for as much in the first place! That might sound overly simplistic, like OF COURSE but I already have a job how can I save even more money? Ever heard of a side hustle? It’s like a part-time job, but you are your own boss so you can decided when you work on it and for how long. If you’ve always wanted to dip your toe into being an entrepreneur this is a great way to try it out! Who knows, by the time you graduate you may even be able to turn it into your full time job! My suggestion is to pick something that you can do online, like running a blog or selling print on demand items. To do something like that you will need a website, and you can set one up for very little money using a Bluehost Promo Code. There are about a million and one ways to make money online, by no means do you have to limit yourself to those two suggestions. Check out this blog for more ideas!
The first thing you should do when planning for college is to apply for financial aid by filling out the FAFSA online. Even if you don’t think that you are eligible for financial assistance, you should still ask. Many students qualify for (free) federal grants. State financial aid programs also use your FAFSA information when determining financial aid help.
The Federal Work-Study program is another good alternative to borrowing money for college. Eligible students can work part-time on campus to help pay for their education expenses. When you complete the FAFSA, you will select your preference for work-study or student loans. Therefore, you should choose work-study if you want to reduce your student loan borrowing.
You also need to search and apply for scholarships to help pay for school. Many colleges publish them online, which makes it easy for students to browse and apply. You can also ask your campus financial aid office about any private scholarships not listed online.
You don’t have to earn your entire degree from an expensive university. Attending a community college will be much less costly than a public or private institution. You can receive an accredited associates degree that will fully transfer to a public university in your state. Also, most private universities have transfer agreements with area community colleges too (just check with your registrar to make sure).
Some employers offer scholarships or grants to help employees pay for college. If you are working, ask your employer if there are any company programs available to help you pay for school. Also, if you are working while in school, you might qualify for some tax credits to help pay for college expenses.
Finally, textbooks can substantially increase the cost of your education. Therefore, don’t buy all of your textbooks from the campus bookstore. That’s because you will often pay higher prices for books you buy on campus. Instead, you can usually buy textbooks cheaper online or from off-campus bookstores. Also, you might be able to buy some of your books used, which will save even more money.
In short, increased demand for earning a college degree has made tuition increase substantially over the past several years. Higher tuition has forced many students to borrow money (both government and private loans) to fund their education. However, there is no need to take on a massive amount of debt just to go to school. Instead, you can research some alternatives to borrowing money. Yes, it might still be necessary for you to take on some student loans; but, you will be able to acquire a smaller amount to fund your education.