Those who graduate from college with no student loans are way in the minority, in fact according to a study only about 2/5 of undergraduate students for roughly 1.7 million students graduate debt-free and about 3/5 graduated having less than $10,000 in student loan debt however this number is increased substantially in the last three years as 7 out of 10 college seniors or 71% of the graduated this past year period student loan debts averaging $29,400 per borrower.
What can you do to graduate debt-free from college ?
First thing to do is to go to an in-state public college, of undergraduate students who graduated debt-free 85.2% graduated from public colleges and of this nearly 70% where in-state public schools, going to school in state of public college cost less because states appropriate money to their universities in order to keep tuition low for state residents, forget those for-profit schools, for-profit schools in the news a lot lately due to some of their practices, one of the largest, Everest College has been targeted by half a dozen states and the federal government over allegations that slanted attendance records, distorted student grades, and exaggerated job placement data in his ads, that has lead Everest’s parent company Corinthians college closing some of its nearly 100 campuses and selling the rest, beyond this less than 7% of students who when to for-profit colleges graduated debt-free.
Enroll in a 2 year or shorter program
if you enroll in a 2 year or shorter program you are more likely to graduate debt-free, half of the students who graduated with no debts graduated from the community college, one third graduated from a public four-year college and 61% of students that earn an Associate’s degree from a public college graduated with no debt, what many students are now doing is going to community college for the first two years and then transferring to a state university, since most of the students first two college years are devoted to basic or core classes it makes very little difference where he or she takes and if you do this to record may show that you did two years of the community college before transferring but your diploma will have the name of your state university or even a more prestigious college.
Choose a low-cost college
if you choose a school’s tuition and fees less than $10,000 you are very likely to graduate debt-free, in fact 80% of students who did graduate with no debt graduated from the school meeting these criteria, another 57% graduated from the school’s total cost of attendance was under $10,000 and 86% graduated from college listed at a total cost of attendance of less than $20,000; you might’ve heard the old song titled shop around and this is especially true when it comes to picking a school, assuming your goals to graduate debt-free, for that matter there is one study done recently that came with the surprising conclusion that in some respects where you go to college was less important than where you apply assuming you are accepted, it appears that when it comes to earnings if you are smart enough to get into a prestigious school like YALE or Harvard you are probably smart enough that you’ll be able to earn like a YALE graduate.
Reduce the amount you spend on textbooks
75% of students who graduated without debt spent $1000 or less per year on their textbooks if you buy your textbooks at the campus bookstore you’ll probably pay top price as an alternative to this you might be able to buy the textbooks you need used on sites such as Amazon.com, abebooks.com, or even Craigslist.com, another option is to go to half.com or textbookrush.com for international editions of the textbooks you need, finally you may not be aware of this but it’s also possible to rent textbooks, doing this will typically slash the books list price by two thirds, this can be very appealing unless must you need is one that you want to keep in the future for reference, if this idea appeals to you try www.bookrenter.com.
Live at home
if you live at home with your parents you’re more likely to graduate debt-free than students who don’t, while you might feel at shame to live with your parents it’s better to live at home while you are enrolled in college to be forced to live at home after you graduate because you have so much student loan debt.
Choose your parents wisely
If you have upper income parents you’re more likely to graduate with no debt that if you don’t, statistics show that 56% of upper income students graduated debt-free 36% of low-income students and 45% of middle income students, for that matter if your parents have advanced degrees are more likely to graduate debt-free because your parents probably have a higher average income, also more than two thirds of those who graduated debt-free got help to pay for tuition and fees from their parents in addition statistics also show that a small percentage of students that graduated with no federal or private student loan debts were able to do this because their parents borrowed from the parent plus loan program, college costs continue to skyrocket many students have no choice but to borrow money in order to get a college education the cost of a higher education continues to do nothing but skyrocket the college boards trends in college pricing reported in June of this year the average total cost of attending a four-year public college and university is state was $17,131 of course this includes everything B’s, tuition, room and board if you chose to attend a public college or university out-of-state be looking at an average cost of $29,657 and if you want to go to a four-year private college you will be looking at an average of $38,589.
If you must borrow look for a subsidized federal loan, as you can see these costs echo what we said earlier about choosing an in-state public college or university, beyond this if you must borrow money opt for what’s called a subsidized federal loan, you need to be able to show need to get one of these loans but if you can still be spared from the burden of paying interest on the loan while you’re in school, instead our federal government will pay the interest for you.
How do you show need in order to get a subsidized direct federal loan? US Department of Education will evaluate your FAFSA or free application for financial student aid to determine whether or not you have need, in addition your FAFSA will be automatically sent to the school or schools where you applied for admission to also use this information to determine what type of financial aid offer you, of course the best type of financial aid is the kind you don’t have to repay, this could be a grant work-study grant, or the best of all a scholarship. If you find that most of your aid will come in the form of a federal student loan you need to sit down and evaluate how much you’ll love to borrow versus the benefits you would obtain from attending that particular college.
Work part time
You may also be able to graduate from college debt-free or at least reduce the amount of money you will have to borrow by working part-time, most college towns of the overabundance of small shops hotels and fast food outlets that hire part-time workers, these jobs may not be a lot but every dollar you earn is a dollar you won’t have to borrow, just 15 hours a week at $10 an hour you should net somewhere around $100 a week, around $1,500 a semester which would go a long way towards paying for your textbooks and some of your food and rent.
Build an online business
when it comes to making money online Internet recognizes no age restrictions, people as young as 16 have earn literally thousands of dollars a month by creating a successful business online, you could become an associate of Amazon.com and promote all of its products Amazon.com even makes it incredibly easy to build a complete online store, the commissions you earn from Amazon.com would not be a lot per sale but if you sell dozens of items/week the money will mount up, plus this is something you could do without ever leaving your dorm room or apartment and you could spend as much or as little time on your business as you wished
Sell stocks in yourself
If you a good career path mapped out and can convince other people that you will be successful you can actually sell shares in yourself via one of the crowdfunding websites.
Join the Peace Corps
This may sound a bit on the radical side but if you join the Peace Corps and complete a four-year stint you will earn $7,425 pre-tax dollars to help with your transition to life back home, plus any payments you have on Stafford’s, direct, or consolidated loans will be deferred while you’re in the core and if you are in a Perkins loans you could be eligible for a 30% to 70% cancellation benefit, meaning that the large portion of your loan could be canceled.
If you already have a student loan then you can read more about your options HERE