9 Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt
Student loan debt is growing at a rapid rate. Too many students borrow as much as possible, and this can be a grave mistake. There are many ways, both conventional and a little unconventional, to minimize your student debt and take control of your future. Avoid mortgaging the next 10+ years of your life to earn a college degree. You have options!
Use these tips to avoid student loan debt and still graduate (Note: These are considered to be options and may or may not work with your current situation. Use as ideas to think outside the box with regard to your future):
1. Take a look at all types of scholarships. There are scholarships available for reasons other than financial need, exceptional intelligence, and athletics. Many scholarships are specific to a field of study. There are also scholarships available for ethnicity and character.
2. Consider applying for SNAP. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program. In the past, this program was referred to as food stamps. The laws differ from state to state, but you may be able to qualify. If you do, you won’t have to borrow as much to feed yourself.
3. Live in a van. Do you really need a conventional room over your head? Between the library and student union, you can study all day. Use the recreation center to shower. All you really need is a bed. Once you close your eyes, every bed is the same. Consider purchasing a van or camper and using it as your sleeping quarters. Rent and utilities? Not necessary.
4. Look overseas. It can be much less expensive to attend school outside of the U.S. Tuition is free for international students in a few countries.
5. Work. Have you considered attending school on a part-time basis and working? You could also attend school for a year and work for a year. Many schools have employment opportunities for students. Certain majors have structured co-op opportunities.
6. Sell your blood, sperm, or eggs. There’s a market for blood plasma, sperm, and human eggs. Selling your plasma can keep you in Ramen Noodles. The other two options can be quite lucrative. Put your DNA to work.
7. Attend junior or community college for your first two years. These educational options can be much less expensive than a full, 4-year program. Then, you can attend a university for your last 2 years and earn a degree from a prestigious program without the full expense.
8. Join Uncle Sam. You’re probably familiar with the GI Bill. In addition, several other programs provide tuition assistance, reimbursement, or low-interest loans. Joining the military is another way to emancipate yourself from your parents.
· This option comes with the obvious obligation of military service.
9. Crowdfunding anyone? A few creative folks have received crowdfunding for some offbeat things. You might be able to convince others to throw a little money into the pot. You never know until you try.
Are you concerned about acquiring student loan debt? The total amount of student loan debt in the U.S. is over $1.2 trillion. Avoid adding to that total by taking the necessary steps. Student loan debt can be a serious burden for the next decade of your life. Keep a long-term perspective and minimize the amount that you borrow.
-Tiffany M. Vaughn, CPA