- 4 Ways to Pay for College Without Going Into Student Loan Debt
- 1. Find Money
- Scholarships and cash awards
- Military-based funding
- Employer tuition reimbursement
- 2. Make Money
- 3. Lower Tuition Costs
- High school students can:
- College students can:
- 4. Reduce Expenses
- Leave your car at home
- Make your rent affordable
- Reduce food expenses
- Reduce academic expenses
- 9 ways to avoid student loan debt
- 1. Don’t wait for college to start saving
- 2. Do well in high school
- 3. Fill out the FAFSA
- 4. Avoid student loans
- 5. Consider community college
- 6. Look into state schools
- 7. Keep applying for aid
- 8. Live at home
- 9. Avoid credit cards
- Explore all options
- How to Pay for College Without Student Loans
- Student Loans Are a Bad Idea
- 1. Pay Cash for Your Degree
- 2. Apply for Aid
- 3. Choose an Affordable School
- 4. Go to Community College First
- 5. Consider Directional Schools
- 6. Explore Trade Schools
- 7. Apply for Scholarships
- 8. Get Grants
- 9. Work During School
- Work-Study Programs
- Off-Campus Jobs
- Side Business
- 10. Live Off Campus
- 11. Get on a Budget
- A Great First Step
- 5 Ways to Combat and Lower the Burden of Student Debt
- 2. Investing your assets and capital over time
- 3. Finding an affordable college
- 4. Finding ways to earn an income through school
- 5. Finding ways to reduce the cost of other expenses
- Moving forward to combating the student debt burden
4 Ways to Pay for College Without Going Into Student Loan Debt
This year’s college graduates are leaving school with an average of $37,172 in student loans – up from $35,000 last year. This represents an all-time high for average student debt levels. And many students and families are searching for solutions to avoid becoming part of the crisis.
With the heavy push to secure a college degree combined with the rapidly-increasing cost of college, families are facing one of the toughest decisions of their lives: How to pay for college without being buried in student loan debt. The good news? Paying for college doesn’t have to mean student loans.
In this guide, we’ll cover dozens of ways to find money, make money and lower costs for and during college, helping you secure a degree without the major loan bill that commonly comes with it.
1. Find Money
“Free” money that doesn’t require repayment and doesn’t charge interest is the best option for college funding, because you aren’t the one paying and you don’t have to pay it back. Some of these options have relatively specific requirements, but others are open to nearly any student.
Typically found via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, grants are often financial need and do not have to be paid back. Some are also available your career path (i.e., if you plan to be a teacher or an engineer). According to research, billions of dollars of this grant money goes unclaimed every year ($2.9 billion in 2014 alone), so apply!
Scholarships and cash awards
Scholarships and awards can be awarded for nearly anything, and there are billions of dollars out there waiting for students to apply for it. Do you horses? Video games? Volunteering? There are scholarships for that.
Cash awards are more common for upperclassmen in college through associations and organizations, but they do not have to be paid back, either.
Despite common myths, students can find scholarhips and awards even if they don’t have a perfect GPA or test scores or are not low income!
Veterans and dependents veterans have multiple options for free money for college:
- Tuition assistance: This is money that active military members can use while part of the military. Capped at $4,500 per year, it is a great way to start or complete a degree. The best part is it doesn’t take away from your GI Bill.
- GI Bill: This is given to military members who serve over 90 consecutive days and provides up to 36 months of education benefits. This benefit can also be passed down to dependents.
This is a relatively new method of earning money for college. But if you have family members or friends that want to help support your education, you can start a campaign to raise donations. Common platforms include GoFundMe and IndieGoGo.
Be sure to check whether the platform you use takes a percentage the total donations raised – some do, but not all.
And, while donations of this kind are typically considered a “gift” and are not taxable, it’s always best to check about any tax obligations.
Employer tuition reimbursement
It is estimated that 60% of employers offer some sort of tuition reimbursement. Starbucks is a great example of this, as are Fiat Chrysler and JetBlue.
It’s also becoming more and more common for companies to pay back some or all of their employees’ student loans. Additionally, if you want to go back for your master’s degree, getting an employer to pay for it is very common.
Keep these benefits in mind as an option when considering employers.
2. Make Money
As much as students dread being told they need to work during college, there are many options for making money during school that are less painful than a full-time job. When looking for a job in college, you should try to find one that:
- Is flexible
- Does not require late hours
- Offers a decent wage
- Has a positive work atmosphere
It’s an added bonus if your job allows you to learn about or get experience in a field you’re interested in. And you may not be able to find a job that has all these characteristics, all the time, but they’re good goals to start with. Below are a few ways to make money that meet most of those criteria:
- Apply for a paid internship in your field
- Drive for Uber/Lyft
- Sell your notes (if allowed) – this varies by school and must be your own work
- Tutor in a subject you excel in
- Freelance in the field you’re interested in
- Host your house or aparment on AirBnB (if you live off-campus and it’s allowed by your landlord – make sure to check!)
- Babysit, pet-sit or house-sit for families in your town
- Write for online publications
- Sell old belongings you don’t use or need
- Apply for work-study jobs on campus
Don’t think that the standard 8 AM to 5 PM job is your only option – there are many unique ways to make money while in college. Try to be creative and entrepreneurial!
3. Lower Tuition Costs
The third way to graduate without student loan debt is to lower the cost of your education in the first place. In general, students can reduce their tuition by:
- Attending college in-state
- Finding where tuition is lowest their major
- Pursuing a degree that offers extra scholarships or grants (such as STEM degrees)
Students can also reduce their tuition bills by reducing the number of courses they need to take in college.
High school students can:
- Take Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes for college credit
- Take dual enrollment courses to receive both high school and college credit at once
College students can:
- Take College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams to receive college credit without having to take the class. This is basically an AP/IB exam for college students.
- Maximize the amount of classes included in tuition. In many cases, colleges charge a flat tuition amount for up to 5 or 6 classes. If you take less than that, you’ll still pay the same amount. If that’s the case at your school, make sure to take the maximum number of classes possible, since you are paying for them anyway.
- Take general education ( basic history, English, math and science) classes at a local community college for a cheaper rate. Be sure to confirm that the credits will transfer with your advisor before signing up for any.
4. Reduce Expenses
Students can also lower the cost of their education (and minimize their reliance on student loans) by reducing their everyday expenses. Here are some quick ideas that can help you save thousands per year: Here are some quick ideas that can save you thousands per year:
Leave your car at home
- This saves you money by cutting out common expenses such as gas, car insurance, parking passes, parking tickets, maintenance and much more.
Make your rent affordable
- Choose a more affordable dorm instead of fancier, more expensive options
- Live further from campus
- Have multiple roommates
- Reduce utilities by turning off lights, taking shorter showers and keeping the thermostat lower during cold months and higher during hot months
- Live at home for the first couple years
Reduce food expenses
- Opt to cook rather than eat out
- Prep meals in advance to have the convenience of eating out without the expense. If meal prepping seems stressful, just bulk cook one dinner a week to start.
- Utilize all the meals available on your meal plan! If you have a meal that is going to expire, go grab some snacks, drinks, fruit or other items that won’t go bad to keep in your dorm.
- Use coupons and/or money-back apps
Reduce academic expenses
- Buy used or older editions of textbooks: Many times you will find that the “new edition” is simply the same book with the chapters rearranged.
- Rent really expensive books: Renting is not always the most beneficial thing to do but if it’s a very expensive book that only has one edition, it may be a good idea.
- Buy books off a classmate that just finished the class
- Resell your books at the end of each semester
Student loans can’t always be avoided. But if graduating debt-free is a priority for you, it’s absolutely possible.
And with average student debt burdens continuing to climb upwards, more and more students and their families are ly to be conscious of the impact student debt can have. Follow these strategies, and you will be able to reduce, if not eliminate, the amount of student loan debt you’ll need to take on for your college degree.
Jocelyn is a best-selling author and founder of The Scholarship System, an online program to teach students and families how to fund college with scholarships and other free money. Jocelyn secured over $126,000 in scholarships and graduated with ZERO student loans, completely paying her way through college.
9 ways to avoid student loan debt
For parents and students a, college is a big and exciting step. But for most families, college also means debt. Recent statistics show more than 44 million people have $1.5 trillion in student loan debt.
Whether you pursue loans, invest early in a 519 plan, or get help through scholarships, higher education still comes with some sticker shock. That’s why it’s important for families to consider early on how to cover college costs as possible without tapping student loan debt.
1. Don’t wait for college to start saving
Neither parents nor students need to wait for college before they start saving.
Students who are able to work during high school can get a head start on saving. Try to put your earnings where it counts. A high-yield savings account will accrue interest, maximizing your savings before college. One place to look is online. Online banks are able to offer higher interest rates — many above 2% — and are available no matter where in the country you go to school.
For parents, saving can begin right away. These days, many parents start thinking about saving for college even before their children are born. You can open a 529 plan in most states now. The account works similarly to a Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA. The account will fluctuate with the market, accruing value over time until you are ready to use it for educational expenses.
(Related article: Here’s what you need to know about repayment options for private student loans)
2. Do well in high school
Many schools will give scholarships specifically grades and extracurricular activities in high school.
Beyond that obvious benefit, doing well in high school can allow students to earn some sneaky credits before college even starts..
Advanced Placement (AP) classes can be taken during high school for real, tangible college credits. Depending on the high school, students can take AP classes in subjects foreign languages, computer science, chemistry, biology, environmental science, calculus, history, economics, psychology, English literature, art, music and more.
Be sure to look up your preferred college’s AP class policy to ensure your credits will count.
3. Fill out the FAFSA
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is just that – free. So there’s no downside to filling it out. Every household should fill out a FAFSA, even if you think your family’s income is too high to qualify for aid.
Form Your Future, sponsored by the National College Access Network (NCAN), said more than $24 billion in financial aid goes unclaimed by college students and their parents every year. A large chunk of that is the FAFSA.
Therefore, it’s best to fill out the FAFSA early. Different schools will have different deadlines for the form, and different pools of money they can distribute. So it’s best to get your FAFSA completed as promptly as you can.
The FAFSA can result in both grants and loans. Grants are free money that will not need to be paid back. However, the FAFSA is also used to determine the size and types of loans you can take out.
4. Avoid student loans
If you want to avoid debt, you need to avoid student loans as well. They often come with difficult terms that lead many into debt after school.
CNBC reports that “the average college graduate leaves school $30,000 in the red today, up from $10,000 in the 1990s.”
Student loan debt is only getting worse. According to CNBC, in the first quarter of 2019, more than 6% of students who had a loan owed more than $100,000. That 6% figure is an increase from 2017, when the rate was 5.4%.
While there are multiple options for refinancing loans and repaying them, the best bet is to avoid them altogether, if possible.
5. Consider community college
It’s tempting to reach for a dream school immediately when thinking of higher education. That leads many to overlook the many benefits, especially financial, of going to community college.
Students can spend a year or two at a community college and earn credits while saving money (some community colleges are even free!). Community colleges are simply much more affordable. And transferring to a college later may even end up proving easier than getting in right high school.
Along with financial benefits, community college might give you some time to breathe and find your path through higher education while knocking out some easy general requirements.
You can earn an associate’s degree or professional certification and save money while you’re at it.
Students who continue living at home while going to a local community college also save big on fees room and board.
6. Look into state schools
If community college isn’t appealing, investigate state schools. Again, a student can go to a state school for a few years and then transfer later.
Public universities and colleges will ly cost less than a big private institution. Plus, in-state tuition can save literally thousands of dollars a year.
In some states, average in-state tuition is less than half of what out-of-state tuition can be. In 10 states an out-of-state student will pay three times what an in-state student will pay.
7. Keep applying for aid
Once you’re in school, you shouldn’t give up on applying for scholarships and student aid. The all-important FAFSA needs to be filled out every year. It’s worth continuing to do it so you can keep on receiving help, regardless of family income.
There may also be other scholarships and forms of aid that kick in after you’re already in school. Check with your institution’s financial aid office to learn about scholarships and other programs that can help defray costs.
For example, some students may be able to work for the school itself while enrolled. Many colleges and universities have jobs on campus. Your earnings can go toward paying for tuition and other fees.
Other schools may have official work-study programs. These may or may not be tied to a student’s field of study. They also can take place on or off campus, depending on the type of work.
There is a federal work-study program that helps students earn money to pay for schooling. Check to see if your school participates in this program and how much aid it can offer.
(Related article: This man paid off $46,500 in student loans in two years with this one simple trick)
8. Live at home
Many students underestimate how expensive living on campus can be. Between room and board, meal plans and other fees. If you’re able to avoid campus housing, you could live off campus and save money.
You may need to live with relatives or roommates, and you’ll have to buy your own food (and ly cook it yourself too).
These small sacrifices can add up to huge savings when you’re trying to pay for school at a lesser cost, with or without student loans.
For parents, this could mean allowing your child to go on living at home while they attend college. But with room and board being such a huge expense, living at home is a major money-saver.
If the student does live on campus, don’t forget about your 529 account. Room and board fees are a qualified expense that this account can help pay for.
9. Avoid credit cards
When student loan debt and the related stress starts to pile up, many parents and students turn to credit cards for short-term relief.
While a credit card managed well can give you a leg up in your financial life, many find it difficult to avoid splurging and running up debt they can’t afford to pay off quickly or at all.
The long-term consequences can mean a mountain of debt that could negatively impact your personal finances and credit score.
If it’s possible, it may be wise for you to avoid using credit cards, especially for things tuition payments. The interest on credit card debt is typically significantly higher than on student loans. So in a pinch, it is still better for both students and parents to rely on a loan rather than a credit card.
USA Today reported that many graduates burdened with student debt are relying heavily on credit cards to pay for everyday expenses, with some needing to borrow from 401(k)s and take out other loans to make their card payments.
Explore all options
There is no one surefire option to paying for college without student loans. You can (and should) start thinking about the problem as early as possible. For parents, this could mean opening a 529 account as early in the child’s life as they can. A mixture of scholarships, grants, work and creativity could offer a solution.
If your family hasn’t saved enough for your college tuition, it can really pay to explore options community college and AP classes to earn cheap credits before committing to a big school with big costs. Only by staying open to a broad range of choices will you avoid the burden of student loan debt.
How to Pay for College Without Student Loans
Are you worried about how you’re going to afford to send your kids to college? You’re in some very good company.
I talk with parents all the time who dream of providing their children with the best higher education possible. But with the cost of college rising every year, financial concerns usually dominate the conversation. And that’s totally understandable! After all, look at these average price tags for yearly tuition and fees:
- Public two-year college for in-district students: 3,660
- Public four-year college for in-state students: $10,230
- Public four-year college for out-of-state students: $26,290
- Private four-year college: $35,830(1)
No matter which college route you choose, it’s expensive. And paying for it has become one of the biggest economic problems in America today. Do you compromise on the dream of helping your child go to college and maybe limit their future prospects? Or do you do the “normal” thing and take out student loans to ensure they have a shot at a great career?
Student Loans Are a Bad Idea
I get it—you’re willing to do whatever it takes to help your child succeed. But way too often, I hear from people who wanted the dream so badly they went into debt to make it happen. That’s a huge mistake.
What I want you to understand is that the “borrow money or skip college” dilemma is a myth.
You don’t have to do either one! The truth is, there are many ways to get a great education and find excellent career opportunities without borrowing a dime.
Going to college debt-free is possible! Find out how.
Take it from someone who went deep into student loan debt in college: If you think you’re worried about money now, it’s nothing compared to the stress and pain of life with student loan payments. Just look at the huge financial headache facing today’s college borrowers and the parents who cosigned for them:
- According to the Federal Reserve, Americans owe over $1.6 trillion in student loan debt.(2)
- The projected average student debt per graduate is $35,000.(3)
- There are about 44 million student loan borrowers in America right now.(4)
- Depending on the repayment plan and loan amount, it can take anywhere from 10 to 30 years to repay student loans.(5)
Hold up! Paying back the loan could take 30 years? No wonder some families are rethinking student loans, or college altogether. Debt may be considered normal, but it has a habit of sticking around way longer than you expect. Going into five-figure debt is no way to launch a career if you want your child to have a shot at long-term wealth building.
The good news is, your kids can graduate debt-free and ready to succeed. There are so many ways to cash-flow a degree or get trained for an awesome career without borrowing. So if you’re feeling anxious about the best ways to pay for college without student loans, let’s look at the options.
1. Pay Cash for Your Degree
Using your own money that you’ve budgeted for specific purposes is always the best and wisest approach to paying for anything. And that includes college. If you’re the parent of younger kids, now might be a great time to begin saving for their education. But if you’re getting closer to campus drop-off day and haven’t saved a dime, don’t panic! I have plenty of tips for you.
2. Apply for Aid
Everyone who wants to attend college must fill out what’s known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. That’s just the form schools use to figure out how much money they can offer your child toward attendance, plus what kinds of aid you qualify for. A few facts to know:
- The FAFSA is a form you or your child must complete each school year.
- Types of aid it covers include federal grants, work-study programs, state aid and school aid—all of which I recommend. (It also covers loans, which are a terrible idea!)
- Everyone should fill out the form. There’s no income cutoff to be eligible for financial aid, so you never know how much your child could get until you send it in!
- The FAFSA does have a deadline that can vary by state and school, so have your child look at the official FAFSA website (and their potential college’s website) to see when the form needs to be submitted.
- Once you or your child have submitted the FAFSA, you’ll get an EFC (Expected Family Contribution) estimating how much your family can afford to pay for college. Colleges will then look at those numbers and send an award letter saying what kind of financial aid your child can get. Read the fine print to make sure your child is being offered a scholarship or grant—not a loan.
- Your child can keep getting financial aid all throughout college, so they should fill out the form every year!
Depending on your financial need and the schools you consider, your child may be able to cover their education entirely through grants and/or aid from your state or the school itself.
We’ll talk more about grants below. For now, just remember that all financial aid is awarded only to students who fill out their FAFSA.
I know this can be confusing, so check out my free FAFSA Guide that can help simplify this process.
3. Choose an Affordable School
If you were to ask friends or neighbors the most important factor in choosing a school, you’d get all kinds of answers, the name recognition, the size of the dorms, or the success of the football program. But let me just break it down for you: When it comes to choosing a school, the only relevant factor is if you can pay for it without student loans.
At the end of the day, your top priority should be to find a school you can afford. This might mean adjusting your, or your child’s, expectations about going to a certain dream school.
On the other hand, it’s totally possible that their dream school is still within reach if you can find enough scholarships, grants and other aid to make it happen debt-free.
I’m not here to discourage anyone from pursuing their dreams. My goal is to help you see that staying debt has to be your top priority.
If it’s a choice between a full-ride at State U and a $50,000 loan to go to a private university, I’m going to State U all day long.
Keep in mind that the traditional approach to college, where the student moves away to live on campus for four years, is not the only way to get an education—and it’s usually not the cheapest! Here are some alternatives:
4. Go to Community College First
All over America, including your hometown, we have these wonderful schools known as community colleges. And I love them.
Want to know why? Because they allow people to get valuable college credits on their way to a degree at much cheaper rates than if they’d enrolled in a four-year school right high school.
They can knock out the basics at a community college for two years, then transfer to a school that offers bachelor’s degrees for years three and four.
And while I’m on the subject, let me deal with a myth I run into all the time. A lot of people seem to think doing their first two years at a community college will hurt them when they go to interview for jobs after graduation.
The truth is that few employers—if any—even notice it when applicants only attended two years at the school they graduate from. The main thing they’re looking at is whether you have a degree, and after that, what you studied.
5. Consider Directional Schools
Here’s a helpful tip in understanding how a lot of funding works for state schools. Most states have a flagship school where most of the academic research happens, and several other schools where the focus is more on teaching.
The smaller schools tend to have names indicating where they’re located in the state. These “directional” schools not only focus more on your child’s classroom experience, but also have cheaper tuition and fees. That’s a win-win.
6. Explore Trade Schools
In addition to four-year universities and community colleges, your kid shouldn’t ignore the possibility of trade schools.
That’s where students who enjoy working with all kinds of practical skills electrical work, mechanics, plumbing, and home inspections can get valuable training that’s highly marketable.
Not to mention, completing a trade school program usually takes less time and less money than getting a bachelor’s degree.
7. Apply for Scholarships
Now that I’ve talked through the basics of finding financial aid and an affordable school, let’s jump into some specific strategies for cash-flowing school. Scholarships are one of your family’s most powerful tools in the journey to cover school without loans because they’re funds you earn and never have to pay back!
Here are my tips for getting the most scholarships:
- Treat the scholarship search a job. Or at least encourage your child to treat it that way! Going to school debt-free is serious business, and the paycheck shows up in the form of award letters from scholarship committees. I recommend high schoolers spend several hours a day on summer breaks and weekends searching for and filling out every single scholarship opportunity they can find. The Debt-Free Degree Scholarship Search is an easy way for your kids to look through thousands of scholarships and grants.
- The internet is your friend here. Don’t be afraid of doing frequent searches—new scholarships and deadlines are being set up all the time.
- Your child should be prepared to write some essays about their personal experiences and career goals.
- Look into whether your or your spouse’s workplace offers scholarships for the children of employees.
- Get in touch with local community groups, businesses and charities to find out if your child can apply for their scholarships. These are often awarded on the basis of community service or high school GPA.
8. Get Grants
Once again, we’re talking about free money you do NOT have to pay back—which is the only kind of aid you want.
These grants are awarded by schools, organizations and federal assistance programs your financial need. Once you’ve completed your FAFSA, you’ll receive word on the federal grants you’re up for.
But even if there are no dollars to be had there, you can contact your state grant agency for more aid possibilities.
9. Work During School
Now we’ve come to one of my favorite ways for students to pay for a debt-free education: working while they’re in school. Wait, what? Why would I want your child to work a job during college? Here’s why.
I’ve learned through my own personal experience—and talked to plenty of friends and students who’ve agreed—that a certain amount of work outside the classroom or library actually boosts academic performance.
I know that goes against the grain of what many in our culture assume, but research confirms that students working a part-time job (less than 20 hours a week) often have better grades than those who aren’t employed.
(6)A few job possibilities are:
These allow your kid to work part time while attending school. They’ll find out if they’re eligible in your FAFSA letter. Work-study jobs are usually (but not always) on campus, which makes them a convenient way to combine work with schoolwork. Just be sure they understand that the paychecks are supposed to go toward school expenses—not for pizza or beer money!
Many jobs are great for busy college students looking to cash-flow school. Your child’s best bet may be customer service jobs that are compatible with a part-time schedule. There’s a lot of money to be made waiting tables, parking cars, or working at the mall. Or consider looking for a part-time office position that might be more in line with their career goals.
There’s no limit to the number of ways your child can earn money if they have a valuable skill, hobby or artistic knack they can turn into a marketable product. Think about crafts, clothing design, music lessons, and tutoring.
10. Live Off Campus
For many, one of the biggest expenses in college is the cost of room and board. But there’s an easy way to eliminate that for some big savings—live off campus. Whether it’s commuting to class from their own apartment or continuing to live with you, your child can save a bundle.
And I absolutely get the fact that either one of you might not be thrilled with those possibilities.
After all, you’re both looking forward to more independence! But there’s another way to look at this that you should consider.
If you can see the college years as a temporary season of necessary sacrifice for the victory of debt-free living, you’ll be able to get through anything. Even a few extra years under the same roof!
11. Get on a Budget
Now this is one of those pieces of advice that might sound too obvious to mention—until you realize how few people budget! Trust me, it’s worth your time to be sure your child knows how to make and stick to a budget before they leave for college.
By being proactive to list their monthly income and expenses and give every dollar a job to do, your child will begin to really take ownership of their college experience.
They’ll also get some insight into just why you don’t want them to take the easy way out by getting school loans! When they see how much it really costs to pay for a month of college in terms of food, transportation, clothing and rent, they’ll probably take their schoolwork more seriously too.
Plus, pointing your kids toward a fun, easy-to-use app EveryDollar might even make them want to budget.
A Great First Step
Want to learn more about how to go to school without loans? Debt-Free Degree is the book all college-bound students—and their parents—need to prepare for this next step. Grab a copy today or start reading for free to get plenty of tips on going to college debt-free!
Now that you’ve got a solid plan to pay for it all, your kids could use their own road map for college success. That’s why I wrote The Graduate Survival Guide. In it, I talk through five mistakes to avoid making in college. It’s full of real-life stories, including some of my own, as well as those of others who’ve been to school and found successful careers.
5 Ways to Combat and Lower the Burden of Student Debt
One of the best things you can do before you even agree to accept any amount of student loans is to prepare your finances ahead of time. It’s also an extremely difficult thing to do for most people, for many reasons.Doing this would require you to prepare at a relatively early age in life when you’re seventeen or eighteen.
Not only are you young, but there’s also a good chance you have limited financial resources, skills, and the knowledge available to you to prepare in full for the future expenses of a college education.Now, that’s not to say that it is impossible. Because it isn’t – the odds are just against you.
The earlier you can start to prepare for the incredibly high costs of tuition and other education-related expenses, the better off you’ll be.
While it might be difficult to make a significant dent in the overall cost of tuition, focus on some of the other expenses so that you aren’t finding yourself stressed or demotivated about the financial expenses.
For example, rather than focusing on saving up for your tuition, you can financially prepare yourself by instead saving for the estimated costs of your books and other school supplies that you anticipate needing. This will put you in a much better position than most of your peers, and you’ll be thankful you did when the time comes to purchasing school supplies.
Making small sacrifices and saving small increments along the way is a smart money move you can start making today to set yourself up for a better financial outcome in the near future. By doing this, you’ll also start to shape good financial habits that you’ll have with you for the rest of your life.
2. Investing your assets and capital over time
Thanks to the power of compound interest, investing your assets over time can prove to be incredibly beneficial and profitable. This is not new, and it’s ly something you’ve already heard many times before.So how exactly does this relate to preparing for and managing student debt? Well, the answer is actually quite simple.
It’s important to recognize the benefits of investing early in life to take advantage of compounding interest. The sooner you can start investing and the more time you give your money to grow, the more of it you will have.
That being said, even during your college years, it is critical to both your short-term and long-term financial success to look for opportunities where you can start investing. By doing so, you’ll ensure that you have sufficient amounts of money to pay off your debts when and if needed.
Alternatively, it means you will be ahead of the game and will have gotten a good head start at saving and investing for your retirement.
Even if you do not get an opportunity to invest during your college years, it’s important to make sure that you are focused on saving (investing) your money consistently.
3. Finding an affordable college
With the significant rise of tuition costs, notably from larger more reputable colleges and universities, millions of students are looking for more affordable options when it comes to acquiring a post-secondary education.
It’s important here not to strictly make your decision tuition costs alone. Remember, you are going to college first and foremost to get an education.
The last thing you want to do is jeopardize the quality of your education (and the opportunities that come from attending particular schools) because of cost alone.Instead, examine your options more carefully across the board with keeping costs in mind.
Going to a college or university that’s more affordable, yet preserves the quality of their education and post-college opportunities through networks, can be an extremely effective way for you to minimize tuition costs and lower your overall debt burden.
Remember, taking on student loan debt is a long-term commitment. The larger the hole you dig, the more it takes you to fill it up and the longer it takes to get it.
4. Finding ways to earn an income through school
Finding a way to earn an income, even part-time, during your college career can be incredibly valuable in terms of acquiring skills and meeting new people. It’s also an effective way to earn an income that you can use to help combat your current (or future) student debt.
Whether you’re considering a hobby, side hustle, part-time employment, or even starting your own business, earning any sort of income during this stage of your life is a good move.
The income that you’re earning can be used in a few different ways. It can be used specifically as a dedicated fund for your entertainment and off-campus related expenses. You can save and reinvest the money to start taking advantage of compound interest. You can use this money for everyday expenses, including additional school-related expenses, as a way to avoid taking on any additional student loans. And lastly, you can use this earned income to start making early payments towards the principal on your existing student loan.
Either way, you will have options and will be in a much better position financially.
5. Finding ways to reduce the cost of other expenses
This one is a game-changer for your finances. It’s also something that not enough students take advantage of or even consider in the first place.
In addition to tuition and rent, there are plenty of additional expenses you need to pay for that can cost you anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand every year while in school. This includes things such as textbooks, equipment, supplies, clothing, and food and entertainment costs.
For any school-related supplies such as textbooks, supplies, and any classroom equipment that’s required, do your research. First, find out if these supplies and items are in fact required and will be used throughout the year. If not, then you may be able to avoid them altogether.
However, if they are required, do your research to find quality pre-owned supplies and books rather than spending an unnecessary amount on new items that you might only need for one year.
For clothes, food, and entertainment costs, look to see what options you have as a student and whether or not that provides you with ways to acquire additional discounts or sales.
Chances are that there will be a lot of options available to students, but it may require some research, time, and effort to find them.
In the end, every dollar counts, and anywhere you can save yourself additional costs can be considered a win.
Moving forward to combating the student debt burden
It’s no secret that student loan debt has become one of the largest issues across the country, impacting 45 million households. With the inflated costs of living, combined with the increasing costs of tuition, navigating student loan debt is something that deserves more attention and needs to be a financial priority for everyone.
Luckily, there are several ways to manage and combat student loan debts to decrease the impact of the burden. Regardless of the program you’re in (especially if you’re learning how to become a financial analyst), having a good understanding of compound interest and effective money management principles can help you prepare, manage, and control your reliance on student debt.
Savology has helped more than 50,000 households across the United States improve their financial well-being by providing effective financial planning in just 5 minutes.
Users can get started with our free financial planning or premium monthly planning memberships, allowing them to build a personalized financial plan, holistic report card, personalized action items, and more.
In addition to our consumer-facing platform, we’re helping employers across the country provide their employees with effective financial wellness benefits.