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Going to college doesn’t mean you have to go into debt to pay for an education. Yet student loans are becoming more and more the norm instead of the exception. In 2006, the average graduating college senior had more than $19,000 in student loans. Adding to this stat is the scary fact that people under 25 are the fastest growing group filing for bankruptcy.
Many believe that student loans are just a fact of life. Why settle for that? With some hard work and a bit of intuition, you can pay for college without going into debt. The average tuition for a public four-year college is $6,585. At first glance that may seem like a lot of money, but there are plenty of ways to foot the bill without taking out a loan.
When you think of the college life, you may picture living in an off-campus apartment and eating at popular restaurants every night with 20 of your newest friends. As cool as that image is, it comes with a high price tag. Instead, a college student can live in the dorms and eat at the campus cafeteria. It may not be as glamorous, but it is definitely more affordable! You go to college to get an education, not to party and hang out.
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Get a Job
There’s no reason why a college student can’t pick up a part-time job in the evenings or on the weekends. Whether it’s delivering pizzas, babysitting, or waiting tables, there are plenty of options available to make money and pay for tuition. It may be tough to head to work on Friday nights while your friends are going to the movies, but it will be worth it when you graduate without any debt!
No Pedigree Degrees
An expensive, private education doesn’t guarantee you success any more than an affordable, public college can. If you’re determined to graduate without any loans, check out the public colleges within your state, since out-of-state colleges charge extra if you aren’t a state resident. The average cost for a full-time student to attend an out-of-state public college is $10,867. That’s over a $4,000 difference from the average tuition for an in-state college! Community colleges are also great places to get credit for your basic classes.
Apply for Grants and Scholarships
Once you start looking, there are plenty of grants and scholarships available—and many go unclaimed each year. Did you know that there’s a scholarship for left-handed students? Do a little research and you’ll find grants and scholarships that may allow you to receive financial aid without having to pay it back.
Check Out State Programs
There are several state programs that will assist with tuition costs in exchange for working for them for a certain number of years. This is an excellent way to help out with the cost of college, plus you’ll have a job lined up once you graduate.
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If you do your homework, you’ll find plenty of options to help pay for your college tuition. You don’t want to be 22 with a $20,000 pet called Sallie Mae following you everywhere you go!
Dave devotes an entire lesson to planning for college and retirement in his class, Financial Peace University (FPU). He will teach you the best ways to save for college, beat debt, and so much more in the other eight lessons. For those heading off to college, FPU will teach you how to live within your means and make your money work for you! Parents and loved ones, this is definitely one of the best gifts you can give a college student or graduate.
Cliff in Wisconsin told us:
During college, I managed to rack up around $32k in student loans. When I graduated, I started off Dave’s plan by saving a $1,500 emergency fund. From that point, almost all of my earnings were put toward paying off my loans—about $1,800 a month! My life during that time was boring but so worth it! … I will be forever grateful to my aunt and uncle for introducing me to Dave’s program. I finally get to keep my earnings, and it feels great!