The time to consider paying for your education is long before you graduate. In addition to filling out the FAFSA, you will want to look for opportunities to volunteer in your community, apply for scholarships and focus on options for cheap housing at your chosen university.
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Work When You Can
Make room for a work-study job in your college schedule. If you have a reliable and newer car, you may choose to be an Uber or Lyft driver, deliver food or deliver groceries.
One of the significant benefits of a work-study job is that you can generally work on campus. Often, these jobs also allow you to study while you work. Once you know what your job will pay, do your best to align your budget to your job to avoid overspending during the school year.
If you must take summer classes, do so. If you can work at home and live with family during the summer, you can stash nearly all of your earnings for school in the fall. If you can’t go home or there just aren’t many jobs there, look for a summer job at a resort or another facility where you can also get housing and your pay.
Go For Every Possible Scholarship
There are scholarships for students of all stripes. Many corporations offer scholarships to local students. If one of your parents is a veteran, special veteran scholarships are available. Apply for every scholarship that you may be remotely qualified for.
Even if you don’t fulfill all requirements, a small scholarship can pay your lab fees or cover the cost of a tablet or your textbooks. High school graduation gifts should also be saved for these initial fees when you get to college.
Consolidate as Soon as Possible
Once you’re done with school, consolidate your debt as soon as possible. Now is also the time to rely on those frugal skills that got you through college.
You will fully understand what you owe with a consolidation loan in place. Check out ways to drastically cut your current expenses and boost your income to wipe out this debt as soon as possible. Also, look for loan forgiveness plans; for example, can you work for an underserved community for a certain number of years to get your loans forgiven? Talk with your career counseling services to see what options you have to get that debt down or wiped out as soon as possible.
Go For Shorter Terms
Often, student loan debt can stretch out as long as a mortgage. According to Lantern by SoFi, you can shorten that term by getting a series of small personal loans to cover your education debts.
Before you start searching for a school, do your best to set yourself up to avoid a lot of student debt. No matter your major, you can find ways to live more cheaply as you work your way through school. Not facing a mountain of debt upon your graduation from college can be the greatest gift you ever give yourself. But you can always rely on banks to offer you student education loans at lower rates of interest.