Studying hard and getting good grades is not the hardest part of college – it is paying for it. Most students who graduate have a crippling amount of student loan debt. This is a big problem since student loans limit what you can do post-graduation and stop you from building wealth for decades. Here are five tips to follow to reduce your reliance on student loans.
- Pick an affordable school.
Fancy private schools are sure a dream. However, if you are not coming in with a scholarship or grant to cover your tuition, there is nothing wrong in choosing a four-year or two-year state school instead. This makes education more affordable and greatly reduces the cost of your tuition.
- Apply for scholarships or grants.
Every year, get busy filling out your FAFSA and applying for a Pell Grant. Many schools look at this information to help determine needs-based scholarships. You can also search for state grants and school-specific scholarships and grants. Some universities may have scholarship opportunities good enough to cover nearly all of your tuition. This is not limited to students with perfect grades. Different scholarships or grants have various criteria so do your research to find those that you qualify for.
An income reduces the amount you need to borrow to pay for your colledge education. When you work, part of your salary can go to your living expenses, too. Even better, some employers offer tuition reimbursement. In this employer-sponsored plan, you receive a set amount to cover your tuition each year. Remember to study hard though – most of these require you to maintain a certain GPA.
- Minimize your living expenses.
Living on campus has a lot of perks, the biggest of which is you pay one price for your essentials. If you live off-campus, you pay for your room, food, utilities, and internet separately. The cost balloons if you live on your own. If you want to save more and borrow less student loans, keep a budget, save as much as you can, and stick in purchasing needs rather than wants!