Don't Stick to Student Loans

from on 15 Jul 2010

There are some parts of college that stick with you for the rest of your life.

A student loan shouldn’t be one of them.

Sadly, though, that’s happening. The U.S. Department of Education’s statistics show that federal student loan amounts increased to more than $75 billion in the 2008-2009 academic year. That’s a jump of 25% over 2007-2008! About two-thirds of students borrow money today, and the average debt load is $23,186 by the time of graduation!

This is a bad thing in more ways than one. It’s bad enough that people are borrowing money for school and committing themselves to years of payments. But what’s worse is that it’s becoming more a mindset that you can’t be a student without a student loan. People who went to school 30 or 40 years ago didn’t think that way.

There are ways to get out of college without debt making you as sick as a late-night pizza.

  • Apply for scholarships – There are tons of small, little-known scholarships out there. Even if you only get $1,500, that’s $1,500 less to come up with on your own.
  • Get a part-time job – The more time you spend making money, the less time you have to stupidly spend it. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun in college, it means being responsible enough to earn some money.
  • Be a residential assistant – These gigs usually have good perks. In exchange for watching over the dorm, you can get money, room and board discounts, parking permits and other goodies.

These are just suggestions—there are other things that can be done to lighten the money load. If you can get out of school and not owe any student loans, do you realize how strong a position you’ll be starting in? All your broke friends will start looking at you differently. Their looks will go from “Man, you’re weird” to “Man, you’re a genius!”

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