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How do I avoid student debt?

As a chemistry major, all I can think about is the hundreds of thousands of dollars I'm going to spend on college. How, other than scholarships, am I supposed to avoid going into debt when college is extremely unaffordable?

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Sheila’s Answer

Hi Amberly: I agree that college can be quite expensive; especially if you get minimal scholarships, loans, etc. Here are a few things you could do to avoid student debt early.  .  .

1 - Get a job and start saving early (ie, babysitting, part-time job)

2 - Give school your best (ie, score well on ACT/SAT)

3 - Advanced Placement Courses (get college credit without paying for college courses)

4 - Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) "early"

TIP: You'll want to keep extremely good records when completing this aid because the FAFSA systems is linked with the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) system by transferring the data between the two. I tell you this based on experience when my two young adults were applying for aid when they were in college. I'm so glad that this part of our life is over. The FAFSA process can be quite cumbersome and confusing. But, it doesn't have to be if you keep good records. Make sure to organize yourself prior to filling out the FAFSA. There's a lot of information you'll need to provide. If you start gathering that info early it will make completing FAFSA go much smoother.

5 - Look in all places for scholarships

6 - Think about your college choice

7 - Avoid private student loans

Start your financial aid search early; and don't forget to check with your Advisor and Financial Aid office.

*Source: https://www.moneycrashers.com/reduce-avoid-student-loan-debt/

*Source: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa

Best of Luck to You!

Sheila recommends the following next steps:

Research studentaid.ed.gov site https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa
Research moneycrashers.com site https://www.moneycrashers.com/reduce-avoid-student-loan-debt/
Check with your Advisor and/or Financial Aid Office
Remember to bookmark all the links here and any new ones you find during your research
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Kristen’s Answer

Beyond scholarships, which are the #1 way to manage your loans, you can look into student work programs that are on-campus jobs with flexible hours to your schedule, local tutoring, getting as much credit from your high school courses as possible so you can possibly graduate early, and working internships in the summer to help pay your way through. It is possible! You just need to seek out opportunities from your campus.

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