The probability of never-ending college debt after graduation is often what scares students (and parents!) away from applying to many US schools.
We all know that the cost of college can be expensive — but it doesn’t have to mean insurmountable college debt. There are many things you can do to knock down the sticker price and make college in the US more affordable.
Here’s what you can do before college to avoid college debt:
- Get good grades: There are plenty of scholarships and student grants out there, especially for students who make an effort. Study hard and you could get a piece of that thick money pie, a great way to avoid college debt! But remember, no one is going to just knock on your door and hand you a check — you have to make the effort to apply!
- Choose an affordable school: Students often rack up college debt by attending schools that are way outside their price ranges. With thousands of undergraduate programs to choose from, you don’t have to! Do your research and find the right college that’s within your means.
- Fill out your FAFSA form on time: There is a limited amount of money available through financial aid. The longer you wait to fill out that form, the less likely you are to receive it.
- Get a job: College costs money. To avoid turning the expenses into insurmountable college debt, get a job to help cover the costs! Save up as much money as you can for tuition and books — it’ll come in handy!
Here’s what you can do while you’re in college to avoid college debt:
- Get good grades: The same rules apply as when you were in high school. Even if you already have a scholarship, you need to keep your grades up to keep it and avoid college debt.
- Keep applying: While they are less common, there are still plenty of scholarships only available to current college students. Keep applying to scholarships throughout college — you’ll probably have less competition, as most students don’t bother.
- Consider becoming an R.A.: Resident Assistants usually get their room and board for free or at a discounted price — some colleges will even include a meal plan. So while it may mean some additional responsibility, it’s a good way to shave some money off college.
- Get a job: You may not feel glamorous as you serve your friends in the dining hall or take tickets during games, but you can laugh at them later while buying your textbooks and still having money leftover for take-out. You may even make enough to start paying down your loans, or to pay the next semester’s tuition.
- Stay on budget: There are many ways to save money in college. Living within your means can play a big part in alleviating college debt — the little things really add up.; Make a budget for yourself each semester and stick to it! It might mean passing up on the ski trip to Vermont, but it’ll be worth it in the end when you’re not graduating with $30,000 worth of debt.
College doesn’t have to mean taking out huge loans. By doing these simple things, you can help make it affordable and avoid college debt altogether!