Hardship Recovery

7 Tips To Avoid Or Lower Potential Student Loan Debt

You don’t want to dedicate most of your post-graduation paycheck to paying down student loan debt, which is why you should follow these tips now.

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The student loan crisis has gotten so bad that some feel the only way to fix it is via debt forgiveness. While the chances of that happening are probably slim, you can avoid this issue by making these moves to either avoid student loan debt altogether or minimize how much you’ll need:

1. Work.

Having a job before and during college can help pay your tuition so you can skip debt or take out smaller student loans.

Does this mean you’ll need a full-time job to cover your costs? No, it just means you should make the most of your free time to stay debt-free once you graduate.

Get a part-time job or work during your summer breaks. Every little bit helps.

Open a savings account specifically for your school expenses. This can keep your cash stashed in a safe place while earning interest.

2. Get college credits before hitting the university campus.

If you’re in high school, you should take as many advanced placement courses as possible. Some offer college credits that can reduce how many classes you’ll need to pay for.

3. Search for scholarships.

You may get scholarships for a high GPA or your extracurricular accomplishments that can reduce the cost of college. But even if you have neither of those on your resume, you could still snag some free college cash.

Do a Google search for scholarships. Speak to your high school guidance counselor if you haven’t graduated yet. Or, if already in college, talk to your financial aid officer to see what resources are available.

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The more work you do here, the less work you’ll have to do at a job, and the fewer loans you’ll have to take out to finance your degree.

4. Pick a college you can afford.

If your dream school is way too expensive, you may want to explore more affordable options.

You could go to a community college and then transfer to your dream school, which makes your beginning years more affordable.

You could also opt for a public state school versus a private one that’s out of state and more expensive.

5. Choose federal student loans.

While a federal loan will put you in debt, it’s much better than a private student loan in terms of flexibility, affordability (lower interest rates), and forgivability.

For instance, if you can’t get a job once you graduate, a federal loan could be more lenient in terms of repayment. A private loan, however, may not be so easy to work with.

6. Stick to cash.

It’s easy to get into debt during college by using credit cards, especially if you’ve never used them before. Avoid the temptation by using cash instead, as you don’t want to start your financial career in a credit hole.

7. Cut your costs.

Avoid eating out during college and stick to a school meal plan or the more affordable grocery store instead. Buy used textbooks or share them with your classmates. Do clothing swaps with friends or get free clothes online or cheap ones at the thrift store.

All of these moves will reduce your costs so you can stay as debt-free as possible.

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