Heading to College? Here’s How to Avoid Student Loans
You can’t put a price on a great education, but you also don’t want to be bogged down by debt for your entire life. In today’s society, student loan debt is a common and seemingly unavoidable burden that 71% of college-age kids – that’s 1.3 million young people all over the country – take on every year. College is expensive, $10,000-$35,000 a year on average, but there are ways you can reduce or even eliminate the amount of student loan debt you accrue.
Apply for Scholarships
If you’re going to college, you’ve likely worked very hard to get there. Your high school prowess might earn you scholarships – free money that never has to be paid back. There are many types of need and merit-based scholarships rewarded for everything from academics to community service to athletics, and if you’re really good at something, chances are you’ll be able to get a scholarship for it.
There is an endless supply of scholarships listed online, but many of these are highly competitive and hard to get. National or highly sought after scholarships are usually hard to apply for and your application is up against hundreds, if not thousands, of equally qualified individuals. Avoid spending time applying for money you aren’t likely to receive by applying for scholarships specific to your community (local scholarships) or to your college or university (university scholarships).
Growing up in a small town has its perks, and local scholarship opportunities are one of them. It’s worth it to look into scholarships offered by your local Elks Club or city government. Even if you’re from a larger town or big city, your local community may offer community-specific scholarships as well. Also keep in mind that many small town organizations offer local scholarships for students looking to pursue a specific, niche degree. Even if the scholarships are for small amounts, it adds up – and every little bit helps when you’re avoiding student loan debt.
After you’ve applied for all of the local scholarships you can, take a look at the scholarships your university or college offers. If you’ve taken a lot of AP classes and achieved high grades, your college may offer you a merit scholarship off the bat.
Your university or college may also offer scholarships based on your family’s income level or your ethnicity. These scholarships are worth applying for every year to help avoid student loan debt.
Apply for Grants
Federal and state governments offer grants to deserving students to help them pay for their education and avoid the burden of student loans. Grants are free money that never has to be paid back, but they are purely need-based. Students must fill out a FAFSA in order to see which federal grants they qualify for.
Sometimes, grants are offered in exchange for an action on the student’s part, such as earning a specific degree or entering a certain career field. The government does this in an effort to fill job sectors where there is a gap in supply and demand. Accepting one of these grants is a promise, and if the student’s end of the bargain is not fulfilled, the grant turns into a regular student loan.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a great resource for non-loan student aid ideas. One of the forms of student aid they offer is called a FAFSA approved work study program, in which the student receives a set amount of money toward their education for working on campus.
If you don’t apply for a FAFSA approved work study program, working on campus is still a great way to earn extra cash, meet friends, and get to know your college or university campus. Working on campus means you’ll never have a work-class conflict, and you’ll be able to make a little money for books, tuition, or even as spending cash.
Attend a Community College for Your First Two Years
Unless you know without a doubt what degree you want to work toward, the majority of your first two years of college will be spent taking general education courses or “core” curriculum. You can save a lot of money by taking your core credits at a community or local college for your first two years before moving to a college or university for your specialized degree. Just do your research and make sure your community college credits will be accepted by universities.
Take a Year Off and Save
Taking a year off between high school and college is becoming more and more common. It offers the perfect chance to live with minimal bills, work, and save up to pay for college. You’ll gain both pay and experience, which colleges look for and often reward with scholarships, so the benefits are twofold. While you’re working, keep the big picture in mind and don’t keep pushing school off after one year.
If all else fails, there are always crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Indiegogo. People seek crowdfunding for all types of causes, including far-fetched ideas like putting an actual Tardis into actual space (Dr. Who fans out there?). Your education is one of the best causes, and starting a crowdfunding page might be a great way to get your friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers to help pay for at least a few of your college expenses.
If you need help paying for school books, tuition, or school activities, AmeriCash Loans is here to help. We can get your cash to you fast – as soon as next business day. Apply online or in store today!