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What is the best way to avoid college debt?

I'm about to go to college soon, and I was wondering if there was any way I could avoid college debt?

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Vamshee’s Answer

Hey there! If you're looking to minimize your college debt, here are some helpful tips you can consider:

1. Aim for a great GPA and SAT scores – they can help you get a tuition fee waiver or reduction.
2. Think about attending an in-state public college, as they're often more affordable. Attending community college for 2 years and transferring to university is another option if it works.
3. Apply for scholarships to help cover costs.
4. Look into earning grants to support your education.
5. Participate in a work-study program.
6. Don't forget to apply for financial aid (FAFSA).
7. Consider staying at home instead of a dorm to save on living expenses.
8. Make some extra cash with summer jobs or internships.
9. If possible, make interest payments on your loans while you're still in school.
10. Save money by preparing meals and eating out less frequently.
11. Be mindful with your spending – prioritize your "needs" over your "wants."
12. Keep your GPA high in college and apply for internships – they can help you earn money and increase your chances of landing a job.

Best of luck, and I hope these suggestions help you on your journey to a more affordable college experience!
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Amy’s Answer

Start out at community college. First two years are the same courses as a 4 year. Stay in state for cheaper tuition. Research scholarships. There are many unknown scholarships out there. They may only be a few hundred dollars, but will add up.

Amy recommends the following next steps:

Contact local community college for advising
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T.J.’s Answer

Hello Jenny!

I agree with the other responses! You can save money on college by attending community college and maintaining a high academic grades (GPA and SAT/ACT scores).

Your GPA is helpful for earning scholarships. Many scholarships will ask for you to meet a GPA requirement to earn money.
(Granted, I don't know if you're near the start or end of high school. Usually it's good to develop your GPA/test taking skills early on, so take the advice with a sip of tea...or grain of salt).

Some tips I have for scholarships are:

1. Start Local!

Find scholarships at your high school, and find some in your school district. You will face less competition with other students in your town. Online scholarships are great! But they are more competitive. Everyone sees the money, since it's online....and you might compete with thousands of hard-working, skilled students.

Also, you might have businesses or foundations in your city that are willing to provide aid for you. I know that some banks, or alumni from high schools want to give back to their communities. So, look up banks and alumni that do this!

2. Share your unique voice.

Make yourself stand out. Ultimately, you want to showcase the best version of yourself, and be authentic. That remains true regardless of the format (an essay, video, or speaking scholarship).

I recommend finding mentorship opportunities, where someone can help you grow your communication skills and provide advice when applying.

3. Aim High!

If you have a high GPA and test score, you can use it to apply for college scholarships; Some schools provide full aid for tuition, housing, or both.

For example, Oregon State University provides a scholarship that covers "up to $40,000 ($10,000 per year)..." for students that have high GPAs and strong extracurricular/leadership skills (https://admissions.oregonstate.edu/presidential-perks).

Even if it feels intimidating, Apply! Apply for every school that offers aid like this. If you dedicate yourself to earning high grades, commit yourself to extracurriculars, and grow your communication skills, you might get aid.

Sending you good luck on finding financial aid for college :)
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