By Dana Kraus
Let’s face it, college is expensive. After working all summer to save up some cash, there is nothing worse than the feeling of paying your tuition bill – and still not having enough money! So you take out loans hoping that one day you will land a good job and it will all be worth it. But even then, with the average graduating student loan debt over $26,000, it will still likely take you around ten years to pay back your loans.
You might wonder; what can I do about this? By making wise choices now about what loans you accept, how much you choose to borrow, and how you spend your money, you can severely reduce your student loan debt. So here are some quick tips that can help you obtain money for college without leaving yourself in a financial mess after you graduate.
1. Keep looking for Scholarships and Grants
You should continue looking for scholarships and grants even after you start your college education. Grants and scholarships are a type of gift aid; this means they don’t need to be paid back. The more money you’re able to find in grants and scholarships, the less you’ll have to take out in college loans. This means less money you have to worry about paying-off when you get your degree.
2. Get a job
In addition to school scholarships and grants, getting an off-campus job or a Federal Work Study job on campus can help you bring in some extra dough that can really help you keep your loans down and pay them back faster. Even if you’re only working a minimal amount of hours, the extra cash can go towards living expenses like rent, gas, and groceries.
3. Don’t accept every loan in your Financial Aid letter
If you don’t need the money, don’t take it out. Only accept the amount of money you need for school and only accept loans that have terms you know you’ll be able to pay back. Avoid taking out extra loans to finance your hobbies. Also, take a look at the interest rates – generally, federal loans have the best interest rates and can be subsidized, meaning the interest doesn’t start accumulating until after graduation.
4. Cut simple daily expenses
There are simple ways you can cut your daily expense, which will allow you to rely less heavy on college loans without dramatically changing your life. Watch the money you spend on perishable items like food and coffee. By simply making your own morning coffee or cutting back on impulse snacks, you can save up to hundreds of dollars over a year’s span. Another simple way to cut expenses each semester is by buying used textbook or the online version of the book, or by renting your textbooks.
By making the most of your money as well as taking advantage of free gift-aid available you will put yourself in the best position for paying your student loans back in a timely fashion.
How to Keep Debt Low. (2013). Retrieved April 06, 2013 from Campus Explorer: http://www.campusexploer.com/college-advice-tips/5857D342/How-to-Keep-Debt-Low/
Kingkade, T. (2013, January 31). Student Loan Debt: New Reports Find ‘Unsustainable’ Trend Dragging Economy. Retrieved April 06, 2013, from HuffingtonPost: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/31/student-loan-debt-unsustainable_n_2593303.html.