Like many others, you might accumulate student debt as a college student. Almost all college students will take out a student loan at some point in their academic career. Many students apply for student loans too soon without considering the far-reaching consequences.
As per EducationData.org data, the average student borrower in the United States has a student loan debt of about $40,000 and is growing six times faster than the overall economy. After graduation, this debt problem might become much worse. But there are ways to reduce part of it and avoid the stress that comes with it. You can prevent student loan debt or manage it better by following a few straightforward tips.
So what can you do to escape the debt trap of student loans? The following tips are practical and will help you in this issue.
Practical But Easy Tips to Avoid Student Loan Debt
1. Select Colleges with Care
Look around a bit before deciding where to attend college because it will significantly affect how much it will cost. For instance, following a public four-year college inside the state will be much less expensive than attending a prominent university. If a degree from a private college is more in line with what you require, there is a lot of variation from one institution to the next. Similarly, a hybrid learning school is frequently a more economical option. While you should decide on something other than price, it is undoubtedly worth considering.
2. Start Looking for Scholarships and Grants Early
Ask your high school guidance counselor for advice; they frequently know about exciting scholarships. Additionally, inquire at your bank or credit union, the places of employment of your parents, and associations for the business or subject you’re interested in studying.
Numerous organizations, including nonprofit volunteer clubs, religious institutions, and community organizations, award scholarships to deserving students or students who satisfy specific requirements. Use websites like Scholly and Scholarships.com to start your search online.
An athletic scholarship could be yours if you are an excellent athlete. The same holds for other creative activities such as theater, art, and music. These scholarships can significantly reduce tuition fees.
3. Enroll in AP or IB High School Courses
Many high schools offer courses for advanced placement (AP) or the International Baccalaureate (IB) that can be taken for college credit. Juniors and seniors in high school typically have access to these.
They can assist you in avoiding subjects in college even though they are more academically rigorous than typical high school courses. If students enroll in a few AP or IB classes each year, they can easily cut a year off their time in college, saving them thousands of dollars.
A student typically needs an excellent grade (A or B), a teacher’s written recommendation, and strong exam results to qualify. By school and program, different qualifications are required.
4. Accept Hybrid Education
Today’s college students have a unique opportunity thanks to the growth of online learning, mainly thanks to hybrid education. In hybrid learning, the flexibility and cost of online learning are combined with sporadic on-campus learning opportunities. For many students, this structure is significantly more economical than in-person learning. It also offers an occasional on-campus setting that can complete the educational experience.
The flexibility of a hybrid program can dramatically reduce costs that aren’t always related to education, from childcare to transportation costs, even though the per-credit expenses are the same. Additionally, you have more flexibility because most hybrid programs use asynchronous learning. You can do your homework at your convenience rather than a fixed class time that you must attend. This enables you to work more hours and earn money to support your educational expenses.
Unity College offers numerous hybrid degrees and programs than traditional students; our hybrid students borrow roughly 50% less money.
This is a great way to lower your student loan burden without compromising the standard of your education.
5. Attend a Free University
Some American universities are entirely free. The college provides tuition and fees; all you require are room and board and living expenses. College Consensus lists thirty-five colleges with no tuition. Most costs between $15,000 to $35,000 in estimated tuition, and acceptance rates range from 40% to 7%.
Some universities, like the College of the Ozarks, mandate that students labor on campus for a certain number of hours each week. Several of these are liberal arts schools, but many others have a particular area of study, like music or engineering.
6. Decide to Fund Your Education Using Cash
If you decide up front that you will pay cash for your degree, you will be driven to look for ways to reduce your expenses (such as hybrid learning models). This could imply that your education takes longer or that you discover some reasonably priced options to finish some courses.
Additionally, it will mean that you begin consolidating unsecured debts and saving money well before starting college. Without these two major financial activities, a person can’t accumulate enough funds to finance education and avoid student debt.
Even when there is a tremendous temptation to take on student loans, making this decision in advance will help you stay on course.
7. Attend a University Online
Although it’s too soon for official statistics, qualitative data suggests that online learning became widely accepted after the coronavirus outbreak. If you are okay with spending a few more years living at home with your parents, look into an online university.
Suppose you want to take a year or two before transferring credits to a typical four-year university. In that case, you can use online college as a more contemporary version of the community-college-to-university journey. But do your research first and ensure your chosen college will accept all your online course credits.
8. Exchange Credits
If there are better choices than attending a state or community college, transferring credits will still allow you to benefit from the cheaper expenses associated with these programs. You can cut the overall cost of your education by enrolling in general education programs at your nearby community college.
The same method can be used to economically complete several general education courses at your neighborhood community college during the summer session. Before taking this course, check the transfer requirements, and only select the classes you are confident will transfer.
There is no one sure way to skip student loans if you are a student. As soon as you can, you should begin to consider the issue. Before enrolling in a large university with high prices, consider choices like community college and AP courses to gain cheap credits if your family needs to save more for college tuition. You can keep yourself open to a wide range of options and avoid taking on student loan debt.
Lyle Solomon has extensive legal experience, in-depth knowledge, and experience in consumer finance and writing. He has been a member of the California State Bar since 2003. He graduated from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California, in 1998 and currently works for the Oak View Law Group in California as a Principal Attorney.