With the average amount of student loans this past year amounting to $37,172, there are easier ways to pay your way through college besides taking out a large student loan (or living off of Ramen Noodles and Easy Mac). These ideas can help reduce the amount of debt you are in after college and help you become more financially stable, with a little help from Ali the Intern!
Have Other People Pay Your Tuition
Grants are money that can go towards tuition and doesn’t have to be paid back. You can find grants by applying for FAFSA. Did you know billions of dollars in grants go unclaimed each year?! Scholarships are another form of money that can go towards your tuition and doesn’t have to be paid back. There are thousands of scholarships out there for anything you can imagine, so apply for as many as you can! Ask your employers if they offer any kind of tuition reimbursement, because it is estimated around 60% of employers offer it. An example of this is Starbucks, which offers full tuition reimbursement for students attending Arizona State University.
Find Where You Belong
Choosing the right school can play a big role in how much tuition you will have to pay to begin with. Consider in-state schools first, due to their cheaper in-state tuition as opposed to more expensive out-of-state schools. Public schools are generally cheaper than private schools. However, don’t rule out private schools completely because they often offer large amounts of financial aid that can bring tuition prices even lower than public schools, which saves you tuition costs.
Get a Job
This one may seem obvious, however many students don’t feel that they have enough time to work while in school. On campus jobs are a great option for students because they often have flexible schedules and some even allow you to do your homework while “on the clock. Take advantage of breaks and summer vacation to work a lot of hours and save that money to pay for tuition in the future.
Prepare in High School
There are many ways to receive college credit in high school. Do some research to find what options your high school or local colleges can provide. High school will often offer Advanced Placement courses which can count for credits in college. Colleges often offer courses high school students can take and will count towards college credits. Taking advantage of these options can help to build up your credits and can help you graduate on time or even graduate early.
I’m going to be completely honest here, I have no idea how to fill out FAFSA so my mom did it for me. What my mom and I discovered after filling out the FAFSA form is that it’s a very long and time-consuming form to fill out. However, it’s nice that you can save and come back to it. We also noticed a few things about how the FAFSA and tax returns are linked to each other. One concern my mom had with this is security because now personal information, such as social security numbers, are being shared between the two. However, my mom did like that FAFSA and tax returns are linked because then the auto fill kicks in and fills out your FAFSA form.
Online Student Financing
I’m going to be completely honest again here, I had never heard of online student refinancing. I had to do a little research to learn some more about this. Basically, online student financing is new student loans taken out or student loans being refinanced provided by an online company. These loans often offer better benefits such as lower interest rates and payments.
Hopefully following some of these tips and tricks will help you graduate with less student loan debt, or even debt-free!