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Four Ways to Avoid College Debt

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May 22, 2014

Let’s face it. College is expensive. As a result,Four Ways to Avoid College Debt most students graduate with student loan debt. In fact, according to CNN Money, the average student loan debt amount in 2012 was $29,400.

That’s a large number, especially if you have trouble finding a job after graduation or enter a field that doesn’t exactly pay top dollar. Paying it off isn’t always easy, as the Federal Reserve Board of New York can attest: approximately 37 million student loan borrowers have outstanding student loans.

So, what’s the point here? Are you doomed to a life saddled with college debt? No, not at all. It is possible to graduate with little-to-no debt but it takes work, perseverance and creativity. Here are four ways to avoid accumulating debt during college.

  1. Making finding scholarships your part-time job. While you’re in high school, apply for as many college scholarships as you can. While some may be small – $500 or so – those amounts can add up quickly and mean the different between a paid-for semester (or year!) or taking out a loan.
  2. Attend a local college or university. Staying in-state can mean dramatically lower tuition bills. Instead of your degree costing you $40,000/year, it could only cost you $12,000/year. Many times, your degree is more important than the institution that bestowed it.
  3.  Work. It may seem like common sense but some students don’t consider working while in college. Did you know that you are more likely to be productive if you also work part time? Find a job and help pay your way through college.
  4. Save, save, save. If you’re still in high school, planning to go to college in the future, or just undecided, spend this time saving. With some discipline and work, you’ll be amazed at what you can set aside now for future college needs.