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By Kris @ Parentingwithkris.com
Student loan debt is a serious problem in this country. Student Loan Hero notes that around 46 million Americans collectively owe nearly $1.75 trillion of U.S. student loan debt! It’s no surprise that student debt can be crippling when you’re fresh out of college and seeking an entry-level job position—one that likely pays far too little for your needs.
For parents and their teens preparing for college, the best way to manage student loan debt is knowing how to avoid it in the first place. As you research and plan for your college education, consider these tips from Homeschooling Teen to proactively minimize long-term debt so you can one day graduate with a little more freedom.
Find Affordable Degree Programs
Why pay for an expensive education at a fancy school when you can earn the same credentials somewhere else for a fraction of the cost? Paying to attend an expensive, elite school just isn’t worth it. Most employers won’t care where you earn your degree as long as your school has valid and recognized accreditation. It’s never too early to start comparing a wide variety of degree programs and institutions to find an affordable option.
Community colleges and online universities can help you save a lot of money without sacrificing the quality of your education. For example, an online business degree program will cost less than a similar on-campus program, but you’ll still learn key skills that will help you land your first job. Reputable online programs boast a high ROI, competitive tuition rates, scholarship opportunities, and flexible study schedules that make it easy to hold a job on the side.
Work a Side Job
Working a side job is easier when you attend school online. By holding a regular job, you’ll be able to earn an income so you can get a head-start on those loans. And if you’re able to live with your parents while attending school, you might even be able to save some money for the future! The Penny Hoarder points out that some of the best part-time jobs for university students include working as a virtual assistant, tutoring, resume writing, driving for ride-sharing companies, and freelance social media management. You just might want to avoid mentally-demanding work so you can preserve more cognitive power for your studies.
You could also start working for yourself. There are some important steps you’ll need to take to ensure you’re successful, including registering your business (many entrepreneurs decide to operate as an LLC), deciding what product or service you’re going to offer, and writing up a well-thought-out business plan. Once you have the basics down, you’re ready to take the next steps toward running your business.
Reduce Your Living Expenses
Controlling your living expenses during college will help you put more of your income toward loan repayment. There are many ways to reduce your cost of living in college! For example, find an apartment with roommates instead of staying in a college dorm. Learn how to shop for healthy groceries on a budget. Forgo a car and use public transportation for your college commute. You can even save money on textbooks by buying used and selling your old books at the end of each semester.
Compare Different Loan Options
Even if you take steps to reduce your college expenses and earn some money while you’re in school, you might still need to take out a loan. Be sure to consider all of your loan options so you can find one with rates and terms that work best for you. Look into federal loans and private loans. You can even get special loans designed for students in particular circumstances, including international students, medical students, and students in web development bootcamps.
Once you’re out of high school, pursuing a college education is a great way to propel your career forward. But you don’t want to get stuck paying off your student loans for the next decade of your life. Take steps to keep your college costs under budget so you can minimize your reliance on loans and graduate as close to debt-free as possible!
Homeschooling Teen is a magazine that covers all aspects of student life and beyond. Read more informative articles today!