Taking out student loans is what scores of people do each year to get through college. This means applying for financial aid and taking out loans to pay for costs associated with college such as tuition, books and other necessary supplies. However, once out of college, graduates often find themselves encumbered by their massive debts. Many feel like they will never get out from under this debt that they incurred at such a young age.
From buying used textbooks to finding the right jobs, here are some ways to get through college while reducing your exposure to debt along the way.
Buy used books whenever possible. Buying used books can save college students almost 50 percent off of the cost of purchasing new books, and the money adds up over time. Plus, at the end of the semester, sell the books back to the college bookstore. Save this money and apply it toward next semester's books. Over the course of a college education, students can save anywhere between 60 to 80 percent off of books costs by buying used and selling the books back to the school.
Capitalize on Classes and Internships
Most colleges charge one fee for a set number of credit hours and some colleges will charge less per credit hour the more classes a student takes. Students looking to finish school quickly and save money while doing so should load their schedule with the maximum number of credit hours allowed to be taken in a single semester. Summer internships can also go toward class credits - this is a huge deal, considering you can do this while sidestepping the requirement for summer tuition fees.
Core requirements at Community Colleges
Every college requires the same or similar core requirements, such as math, English and a foreign language. Stay at home for the first year or two and attend a local community college. The tuition is less expensive and all of the core requirements will be completed before enrolling in a four-year university.
Couponing: Learn Early
When shopping for groceries, school supplies and anything else the student may need while attending college, it is important he or she look for sales and use coupons whenever possible. This will help reduce monthly expenses making it possible to pay for college tuition and expenses up front.
Get Employed Fast
Though many students want to focus on their studies and feel that working could interfere with their classwork. However, finding a job will help pay for books, tuition and other costs associated with attending college. Find a job that allows time to study while there is nothing to do. Some small retail stores are slow at night and many students find themselves being able to study after all of their work is complete and in between customers. Working full-time over the summer and on school holidays will help bring in extra money to pay for expenses.
If possible, students should look into colleges close to home. This eliminates the need to pay for room and board associated with living in a dorm or needing to pay for an apartment near campus.
Staying in State
Choose to attend college in state. Students wishing to save money should look at colleges in the same state they have residency in. Attending college out of state will be faced with higher tuition costs and fees for not being a resident.
Find Favorable Payment Pans
Some colleges offer students monthly payment plans, where their total amount of tuition is divided up among the months in the semester. As long as the student attends classes and is receiving decent grades, the school may continue to offer payment plans to help reduce the need to get a student loan.
Scholarships and Grants
There is free money available to help students pay for college tuition. Students looking to be debt free by the time they graduation should apply for as many scholarships and grants they may qualify for. These will help reduce out-of-pocket expenses students will have to pay for their education.
Graduating college without any debt - or even with significantly less debt than your peers -- is an amazing feeling. By being able to do this, the graduate will be able to get out in the world without having to worry about paying back his or her college tuition for many years to come.