If you have high credit card debt, most people believe that you can’t properly manage your finances. If you have high student loan debt, however, you’re just considered part of the social norm. Everyone has student loan debt, right? Wrong. In fact, most students who do have high student loan debt could have avoided pulling out loans altogether had they simply done one or all of the following:
Filled Out the FAFSA.
This seems like a no brainer, but many prospective student avoid filling out the FAFSA because they believe their parents make to much money. You will never know the type of aid you are eligible for until you apply. The form is also easy to fill out, and by taking the 10 to 15 minutes needed you let yourself become eligible for thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships.
Checked Out State Programs.
In addition to federal programs, some states offer programs to help get you through college debt free. Some states will allow loan forgiveness to students who choose to work in certain professions, or even just for graduating in 4 years or less. The Texas B-On-Time Loan Program forgives all of a student’s loans as long as they graduate within 4 years. Other states even offer programs to high school students to help cover the costs of in-state schools. The Missouri A+ programs grants high school students 2 free years of school at a community college in exchange for tutoring and mentoring hours.
Applied for Scholarships.
You don’t have to be a star athlete or a MENSA candidate to get a scholarship. Online scholarship search engines like Fastweb.com or Scholarships.com can help future and current college students find and apply for all types of scholarships. By simply writing a 300 word essay you could win up to $5,000 to use towards college tuition.
Taken College Courses in High School.
Taking college level courses in high school is much cheaper than taking college courses on a college campus. “Many high schools offer students the opportunity to take college level courses through IB or AP classes, and high school students should hop on the chance to take these courses to not only get ahead in school but to also keep money in their pockets,” says Charles Bulger from Currencies.com.
Simply choosing the out-of-state college over the state school you got into because of location can be costly. Out-of-state tuition prices are often triple the price of in-state tuition. Stay in-state for school, and then move to a dream destination for a job after you graduate. You’ll get to live in the place you always dreamed without racking up debt due to loans.
High student loan debt can be just as restricting as high credit card debt. It can greatly decrease your standard of living after graduation, and if the job market continues to stay stagnant, trying to afford a $500 a month student loan bill could seem impossible. Always be mindful when faced with the option of pulling out student loans, and remember that they may not be necessary.