With the costs of college tuition rising every year it has become nearly impossible for students to get their degree without having to borrow through loans to cover the costs. However, the need to borrow doesn’t mean the need to end up behind massive amounts of student loan debt. There are a few ways to reduce the amount that is needed in order to attend college.
First, evaluate the starting salaries for your degree of choice. Different career fields have different salary ranges. Borrowing $30,000 to get a degree in marketing isn’t going to be well supported by a starting salary of barely more than your loan balance. Choosing a career you love is important, but also know what the starting salary is for your degree ahead of time so you can better prepare you for your post-graduation budget. Outline an estimate of your future costs of living expenses and factor in your monthly loan repayment.
Second, compare the costs of several institutions. Not all colleges are priced the same and there is no harm in getting a degree from a more affordable institution. Why attend a fancy, expensive university when you can get the same degree elsewhere? Look for an accredited institution that offers your desired degree at the most affordable rate. Attending a community college the first two years can also save you thousands of dollars, money well saved by not adding that dollar figure to your ending loan balance.
Last, consider your graduation timeline. If you or your child has a few years before applying, start saving now. Earn extra income and put it away for the costs of attending college. If you don’t have time to save before college, consider attending part time so you can earn extra money to pay for college. Many people are taking an extra year or two to graduate so they can work at the same time. Graduating a year late won’t hurt you and it certainly can only help you financially. An extra year in college can save you from having to borrow more than necessary to pay for college.