What are some tips for maintaining a low level of debt during college?
Excellent question! I don't know your current financial situation and your grades and test scores but as a current college student, I have some insights into this topic there are several things you can do to reduce debt.
- Look into community colleges- CCs are normally affordable and after 2 years you can transfer into a 4 year university. This will SAVE you tons of money!
- Apply for FAFSA and Scholarships-FREE money in a lot of the case, also FAFSA will give you some loan in addition to grants
3.Look into financial aid options many colleges will offer to pay for part or sometimes even all of your college depending on your academic performance.
- Apply for loans-make sure you understand the interest rates and know what you are getting yourself into before you apply to your loans.
- Get a job- Don't be afraid to work while you're in college( work on campus, off campus, work-study, work summer jobs, etc.) I am doing that at the moment it's totally manageable with your school and social life. This won't fully pay off everything but it will help.
- Seek help from family-see if your parents, aunt/uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc can help you pay some bills.
- If you choose to go to a 4 year university maybe live at home if you have a university near your house. It will save you tons of money if you can avoid paying for housing.
My strongest advice is that if you must take out loans to attend school, take out ONLY WHAT YOU NEED! Most student financial aid far exceeds what you'll actually need to go to school. Be smart! Don't look for an expensive college just because you think it'll look good on a resume. Community colleges offer great education, especially on the basics (math, science, etc...the classes you'll have to take for any degree). Save some money and start at community college, and if possible, live at home during this time. Room and board are expensive, no matter how you cut it.
Take out loans for only what you really need. Many students get approved for a larger amount than truly needed. They believe that the "extra" they can get is a refund. It is NOT!!! It is extra loan that must be paid back. Don't think you can go to school on the government's dime and be okay. Eventually you WILL HAVE TO PAY IT BACK!
And, if possible, work while you are in school to help with the incidentals...gas, food, clothes, and some fun.
Finally, pick a degree that you'll be able to use universally. Although a philosophy bachelor's degree sounds cool, not many companies are willing to hire someone who wants to sit around and think about things. A degree in business will serve you much better.
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One point that gets mentioned less often is, be sure to finish college! People who don't finish their undergraduate degree have an especially difficult path, because they have to pay for the portion of college they attended, but struggle to find employment without their degree.