After completing high school education, most students jump into undergraduate programs almost immediately. However, you must first figure out how you’ll pay for the learning before you get admitted into the institution. You might be tempted to quickly take up a student loan without evaluating the corresponding long-term and far-reaching consequences.
According to a U.S news data outlet, most 2020 class students took up loans to pay for college fees. Out of the 64% of graduates who took out student loans, the average total debt per student accounts for nearly $30,000. One of the best ways to reduce your student loan is attending a school that offers free library resources and tutoring like American International College. Here are a few other strategies you can use to reduce or even avoid student loan debt:
1. Choose Schools Carefully
Where you choose to attend college will be a major factor in the total cost of your education, so take your time and shop a bit. For instance, you’ll find it far cheaper to study at a public state college than at an Ivy League university. For private school degrees, they will vary from one institution to another. Schools that offer hybrid learning will often offer you a more flexible and affordable choice. While you shouldn’t just choose a school based on cost alone, it’s a significant factor worthy of consideration.
2. Embrace Hybrid Learning
The continued rise and adoption of internet-based learning has created a unique opportunity for college students, especially through institutions’ rapid adoption of hybrid education. Hybrid learning offers the best of both worlds; you can occasionally experience on-campus classes while you still leap the affordability and flexibility benefits of online learning. The flexibility enabled by a hybrid program will significantly cut your per-credit costs, from transportation to other related expenses. Additionally, you will find this hybrid program flexibility asynchronous, rendering your classroom work more enjoyable.
3. Transfer Credits
If you think that joining a community or state college isn’t the best path for you, you still have an opportunity to lower your education costs by transferring your credits. If you are still in high school, try attending your local community college to earn some credits. Later transferring these accumulated credits to a university of your choice can lower your overall education cost. Use this strategy to also bag general course certification at your local community college during summer break. Remember to verify the transfer requirements of your desired course to be sure that you will seamlessly make the transfer when it’s time.
4. Look for Scholarships and Grants
There are many charitable organizations, such as religious organizations, civic groups, and nonprofit volunteer clubs that offer college scholarships to exceptional students who fit their specific criteria. You can start by speaking to your guidance counselor from your high school or even take your search to the internet. Another approach would be to check with your credit union or bank, employers of your parents’ or any other organization that fits your intended field of study.
5. Work On-Campus
One of the best ways to reduce college debt is by working on-campus. You can work on-campus as a college dorm resident advisor, library assistant, lab assistant, peer tutor, social media assistant in your college’s marketing department, or another job within your college premises. Working on-campus allows you to make some extra money to put toward your tuition or to cover your expenses throughout the semester, so you don’t have to take out a loan.
Some on-campus jobs even offer you discounts on food and housing while at school. This reduces your expenses significantly, enabling you to put more money toward your tuition fees. You can also take advantage of work-study programs that let you work on-campus for reduced tuition fees. You also get to utilize your college’s resources like the career services center and online library and learn how to balance work life with school.
6. Work Part-Time or Start a Side-Hustle
If you can’t find a job on-campus, you should consider starting a side hustle or taking on a part-time job. You can work full-time during the summer and part-time during the term to earn and offset college costs. There are many online gigs that you can do to earn some money. This can include copywriting jobs, blogging, creating tutorials on YouTube, and more.
If you can balance work with classes, you can consider taking on traditional part-time jobs. Some restaurants usually offer tuition assistance to their employees, which can help offset part of the tuition fees. Working part-time and starting a side hustle while in school allows you to earn an income that you can put toward your college tuition or offset your expenses. It also helps you better manage your time while in school.
7. Submit Your FAFSA
Applying for scholarships and grants can help you avoid depending on student loans to cover your college costs. And the best thing is that almost everyone can qualify for some scholarship. Start by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and submit it to qualify for financial aid. The earlier you complete and submit the FAFSA, the higher your chances of qualifying for different types of financial aid. Be mindful of FAFSA application dates so you can collect all the necessary documents in advance.
While encouraged by some investment experts as a wise decision, you should try and exhaust any other funding avenues before considering turning to loans. It’s always a better choice to get through college debt free. You can avoid student debt entirely if you take your time to plan properly beforehand.
Take advantage of all the tips outlined herein to graduate debt free. Ensure you have a lean budget during your study years to minimize your student loan burden. You can also consider negotiating tuition fees with your college’s admission office or inquiring about their repayment plan options to avoid paying your tuition upfront. Entering into a repayment plan spreads your tuition over an extended period of time, making it easier to pay. You also don’t pay any interest like with student loans.