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Other than scholarships and grants, what would you say is the best strategy to pay off your college tuition and fees without any excess debt?

I am a senior in high school who has applied for almost a hundred scholarships over the course of one semester. Despite my efforts, I have only accumulated enough money to sustain me for one semester of my least expensive choice college. Do you have any suggestions for what I can do during the school year to make enough money to satisfy my tuition of $40,000 a year? #financialneed #financial-aid #money-management

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Audrey’s Answer

I would look into as many options as possible. Complete the FAFSA even if you don't thibk you qualify for anything besides loans, you might be surprised.

You could also attend a community college first, then transfer to your college/University of xhoice. Community colleges are cheaper and depending on your class schedule you can work.

Some other last minute ways would be to ask for a monetary donation from family/friends instead of gifts at graduation.

I hope this helps!

Audrey recommends the following next steps:

Keep applying for scholarships
Apply for FAFSA

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Michael’s Answer

Student loans tend to have higher interest rates that other types of loans. It's unfortunate and needs to be fixed by the government, but the reality is that that's the current state of the student loan industry means it takes year to pay off with inflated interest. The good news is that there are companies like Credible and SoFi that have popped up that will allow you to refinance your student loans with smaller interest rates. This means that at the end of your loans, you will have paid less interest than if you stuck with your original loans.

My other piece of advice is to consider overpaying each month, if you have enough money to do so. As an example, if your monthly student loan bill is $300, no one is stopping you from paying $350 a month if you can afford it. This will allow you to pay off your student loan faster and be subject to less interest.

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Jan Hodges’s Answer

1. Explore non-residential colleges. You can save tons of money by not living on campus. Be careful with financial aid. Some schools package students at "maximum eligibility" which can increases your debt and can cause students to run out of aid before they get a degree. There is a limited amount of aid money at the bachelor's level. Make sure you are only getting enough aid to cover your tuition, fees and books.

Find out if you qualify for work study money. Work study jobs will pay you a wage while you are in college, while allowing you to build valuable real world experience!! Find career services office and your academic adviser and connect. find a work study job that relates to your major. For example, if you major in business, try to get an office job on campus.

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Kitty’s Answer

I would read the book "Debt Free" degree by Anthony ONeal which just came out. You CAN graduate without debt. If you want to do this, there is a good chance you may need to go to a less expensive school for two years, work to earn money during that time, and then transfer to the school of your choice. It will leave you off in a much better position than the tens of thousands of young people today who cannot get ahead because of student loans. If you are good at photography, try to get a job as a wedding photographer or videographer; it is a very good way to earn a lot of money during the summers, even for a second shooter.

Also, when applying for scholarships, apply to the ones which require an essay, which fewer students do.

Good luck!

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Al’s Answer

Speak directly with both the admissions office and financial aid office to the schools you really want to attend. These professionals can take another look at your information, confirm everything is correct and possibly find additional dollars or options available too you.