- Enroll in an in-state public college.
According to the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), 42% of students that graduate within four years from in-state public colleges graduate with no debt. Keep in mind, this is for students that are residents of the state.
- Do not attend a for-profit college. A for-profit college is owned and operated by a private, profit-seeking business. They are oftentimes online universities, which do allow students to enroll at anytime and attend classes from the comfort of their home. However, 88% of graduates from for-profit colleges have student loan debt, according to Student Loan Hero.
- Get your degree at a community college.
- Enroll in a low-cost college. You do not have to accept those $50- and $60,000 per year college sticker prices. There are many colleges that cost less than $10,000 per year. Education Corner highlights the 100 most affordable colleges in the country. There are also multiple work colleges across the United States. These universities allow students to attend college for free. The “catch” is that they have to work around the campus while they’re in school; however, these work opportunities become great resume builders.
- Spend less on textbooks. Three quarters of students who graduate without debt spend less than $1,000 per year on textbooks. Instead of spending money on brand new textbooks, use these cost-cutting textbook tips: buy used, purchase them online instead of the campus bookstore, and sell textbooks once the semester is over.
- Live at home. If you are attending college close to home, save on the room and board costs and continue living with your parents or guardians. Though it will not provide the stereotypical college experience, it will help save on college costs. Students that live in the dorms or in off-campus apartments will spend thousands of dollars over their college career on that experience.
- Commit to graduate in four years – or less. Many students rack up student loan debt because they take too long to finish their degrees. They may take five, six, or even seven years to complete a college degree. Sometimes, this is due to a radical major change. Other times, though, it is because students opt to take a lighter course load a few times during their college careers. Students can also avoid student loan debt by graduating in three years through aggressive semester loads and summer school courses.
- Apply for financial aid. According to savingforcollege.com, a third of college students to do not file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as the FAFSA. Savingforcollege.com adds that of those that didn’t complete the form, 2 million would have qualified for financial aid. Applying for financial aid can help to eliminate student loan debt. Through filling out the FAFSA, you can qualify for grants, scholarships, and work study opportunities that are set aside for financially needy students.
- Continue the scholarship search. Finally, students should continue their scholarship search throughout the entirety of their college years. So often, students limit the scholarship search to their junior or senior year of college; when in fact, there are thousands of awards exclusively for college students. Winning scholarships throughout college can help to eliminate any student loan debt upon graduation. Check with your college as well as your department chairs for opportunities that you might qualify for. And as always, continue to update your profile and apply for scholarships on Fastweb.
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