Most well-paying jobs require a college education, but graduates spend the bulk of their first few years just paying off their student loans. After four or five years of endless studying and late-night pizza deliveries, you have a diploma – and about $100,000 in student loan debt.
In a depressed economic climate, student loan debts are being put aside just to pay the bills; this causes many loans to go into default. Do not be a victim of high education debt! With hard work and excellent time management skills, you can graduate from college without student loans.
While the full-ride scholarship is rare, there are many partial and specialized scholarships available. The college itself often has many different scholarships available for everything from sports to academic majors. Some high schools have scholarships contributed by various alumni and can be based on scholastic merit or activity.
Various organizations and charities also provide scholarships. If you are or a parent is a member of veterans, social or other organizations, you can check to see if they have scholarships. A scholarship doesn’t have to be paid back and can be as little as fifty to several thousand dollars. Attending the school where your parents attended may also give you access to alumni scholarships.
You may be able to pay your way through college using monthly payments. This requires having a job while you are enrolled, and it can be challenging to work and study simultaneously, but many students find the right balance. You can also save money by only going to college half-time or by starting at a community college. Most financial aid offices offer monthly payment plans to help you manage the cost. You can spend a few years flipping burgers during college and go into your corporate job debt free.
For some, delaying college and working prior to attending, to save up money for tuition, might be the right choice. You can even work during high school. Many high schools partner with local community colleges so that students can earn college credit at a much lower price. Exploring these options, as well as taking AP classes that grant college credit when you successfully pass the AP test can also reduce your overall student debt burden.
While these tips won’t help those currently straddled with the heavy burden of student debt, these tips can help those who are just beginning to consider college:
- Attend a state school instead of a private school, to benefit from lower tuition rates
- Rent books instead of buying them, to save hundreds of dollars each semester
- Get hired by a company that offers a tuition reimbursement program
- Live at home instead of in dorms and save $5,000 – $8,000 a semester or more
If you want to graduate with no student loans, then you need to exhaust every cost saving measure before and during your college career.