How to graduate debt-free from College

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By Steve Barker

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Many high school students are faced with the prospect of going into tens of thousands of dollars in debt or foregoing higher education. Today’s young people are having to look at a college education as an investment and to weigh the value of that investment against potential returns.

There are ways to stay out of debt and still earn a college degree: it just requires a little planning and patience.

Advantages of Going to College

The cost of tuition is steadily rising without the accompanying rise in income. Although there are many paths to success, a college degree does greatly increase job options, teach valuable skills, and create lifelong networks of friends and colleagues. Here are some reasons why college is still worth the cost.

  •       Increased pay: Even though incomes aren’t rising with tuition costs, college graduates still tend to make more than their non-schooled friends. College grads earn an average of 56 per cent more than high school graduates.
  •       Higher rate of employment: The job market is extremely competitive. Anything that gives you an edge should be considered. Some studies show that only 3.8 per cent of college grads are unemployed compared to 12.2 per cent of individuals with only a high school diploma.
  •       Networking opportunities: You are likely to make a lot of valuable connections while attending school. You are introduced to people with new ideas who have the potential to inspire, encourage, and challenge you. Your professors and peers may become vital connections as you enter the workforce.

Staying Out of Debt

There is more than one way to earn a diploma. Taking out student loan debt is not the only way to finance your education. As a young person who has never experienced the weight of being in debt, financial independence might not seem important in the moment. Student loans can put a lot of stress on an individual and cause you to make career decisions that lead you in a direction you would rather not go. There are ways to earn that degree without going into debt.

It is possible to get enough scholarships to cover tuition and most of your living expenses. Remember, as a student, you might be living a more budgeted lifestyle than previously. It requires some effort from you. Many colleges offer a variety of scholarships but they don’t end there. Individuals and organizations also offer thousands of dollars to individuals wishing to better themselves through education. You just have to seek them out.

When scholarships don’t cover all of your expenses, pay your bills the old-fashioned way, with a job. If you have to, go to school part-time so you can go to work. You may even be able to gain valuable work experience in your field of interest. It may take you longer to graduate, but you will be in a much better place than your friends. Online degree programs are a great consideration. They allow you more flexibility than traditional on-campus learning. Just make sure you stay dedicated.

Although the military is not for everyone, it is a viable option for many. The government will pay for your education while dutifully serve your country. Many people successfully earn a degree in this fashion.

Paying Off Debt

If you see no way around taking out student loans, you need a solid game plan for getting out of debt once you graduate or paying on the debt while you are still in school. There is no magic answer to getting out of debt. It requires dedication and hard work, but living debt-free is worth it. The sooner you get yourself on a budget the better. It is important to know exactly where your money is going so you can avoid paying for superfluous things until you are in the clear. Pay as much as you can on your loans. Avoid paying just the minimum. Cut costs where you can. Those five-dollar lattes will still be there on the other side of debt. Apply any extra income you come across to your loans. These sacrifices will be worth it in the end.

Going to college can feel like a rather weighty decision. Tuition rates are skyrocketing and high paying jobs aren’t always as prevalent as you would like. There are still many advantages to earning a degree. Staying out of debt may require a little extra effort but the payoff is worth it.

Steve Barker loves to read books. He’s best known for writing finance-related issues like planning budget, tax saving tips, etc. He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from startups to worldwide travel. He enjoys pie, as should all right-thinking people. You can go through his writings to get helpful information on finance-related topics. Hopefully, you will enjoy reading him.

 

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