How to Avoid Debt to Pay for College
No one ever said college wouldn’t be expensive. In fact, along with all other costs, college expenses are on the rise. Whether you decide to attend a community college for completion of your core classes, or spend all four years at a university, money is going to be a factor. Many students stress about the costs involved, while some students skip college all together because they can’t afford it.
There are a lot of resources to help you pay for college, however, including scholarships, grants, student loans and work study programs. Scholarships and grants are options that don’t have to be paid back while student loans must be repaid, sometimes along with interest, depending on the type of loan. Federal student loans, grants and work study eligibility are determined through filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Student loans are very popular among college students, but if you are looking to stay out of debt while in college, loans should be avoided.
Some of the best ways to graduate from college without any accumulated debt appear below. Utilizing some or all of these pointers will help you get out of school with no debt:
- Earn scholarships: While in high school, and even while in college, earning good grades will help you become eligible for scholarships which is free money towards your education. You can apply for scholarships prior to starting college, but while you are attending college, too. Research what scholarships are available at your school and in your area of study and make a practice of applying for them.
- Do work study if you qualify: Fill out a FAFSA and see if you are eligible for work study. If you are, then you will be set up with a job, typically on campus, that works with your class schedule and applies your earnings towards your tuition or room and board expenses.
- Get a job: Find a job that works with your class schedule and pay your way through school. This will make you appreciate your education more since you had to work for it yourself, and you can graduate with no loans hanging over your head.
- Try summer employment: If you find you can’t work during the school year, find a summer job that you can work full-time and put that money towards your tuition and other fees. This gives you time during the school year to focus on your studies and earn better grades which could help earn more scholarships.
- Consider community colleges: Community colleges are known for having considerably lower tuition rates. You can spend the first two years at a community college and get your basic classes out of the way at a lower cost, then transfer to a university. Just make sure all of your classes will transfer and communicate with an adviser at the university where you plan to finish your degree.
Students that graduate with debt often feel the pressure to find a job right away so they can begin repaying their loans. That can sometimes lead to students taking a job they aren’t satisfied with simply for a paycheck. For those that aren’t able to find a job by the time repayment must begin, additional interest will be applied to the loan amount and continued deferment of payments can lead to hefty interest charges. The best thing a student can do for their own credit, and possibly their sanity, is to graduate without any debt.