4 Tips to Tame Student Debt While You’re Still in School
During the new year, conversations surrounding finances can come up among family and friends. One topic in particular is the cost of higher education and the potential for that cost to cause you, as a new or returning student, to be overwhelmed by debt.
According to Marketwatch, the class of 2015 had the most student debt in US history so far. This year, make a resolution to start taking care of your debt while you’re still in school. Read the following tips to help you deal with student debt, whether you are just beginning college or you’re on your way to a post-graduate degree.
1. Aim to save.
Entertainment on campus (movies, plays, concerts, etc.) can be relatively inexpensive – or sometimes free. Check bulletin boards and kiosks around campus, or try the school newspaper to see what events your school offers. And as far as food goes, make an effort to look for less expensive places to eat, or better yet, begin preparing your own meals as opposed to eating out. The same can go for beverages, such as coffee, which can be less costly if you brew your own at home instead of purchasing lattes and cappuccinos from your school’s local coffee bar. You can also save on your study materials. Textbooks, for example, can sometimes be rented or bought used. Employing these simple tactics may help you save a significant amount of money as the semester goes on.
My Thoughts: This is a great one that I wish was around when I was heading to college. And I say around because no one told met o save. Had I know that my Starbucks checks would have been going into an account and NOT to partying every weekend.
2. Get a job.
New and continuing students may be able to find many work opportunities both on and off campus. Check out any announcements you might find on campus specifically requesting students for part or full-time work. Also ask your classmates, professors and student advisers if they know of any gigs you can pick up for some extra money. Getting a part or full-time job can help you keep your expenses down, which can ultimately help you avoid debt while also giving you valuable work experience for your resume.
My Thoughts: More importantly get a job that is specific to your major/minor. That way you are doing double duty; you are gaining experience in your field, you have a guaranteed internship (that is if you luck out finding a better one) which you know will be paid since most internships are not or hard to find (mine was not paid and therefore I was run ragged working and going to school full time and interning), AND you can inadvertently decide if what you chose is REALLY what you want to do cause you’ll be doing it on a regular basis.
3. Explore scholarships or financial aid for which you might be eligible.
You might think scholarships are reserved for students with superior grades or stunning athletic ability. Well, scholarships and financial aid opportunities also exist for students who have trouble paying their tuition. Seek out an advisor or faculty member to whom you can explain your financial situation. Though the requirements for scholarships and financial aid can vary, whether you are a new or returning student, there may be a scholarship or financial aid program that can help cover some of your tuition.
My Thoughts: This is definitely a good one minus the Financial Aid option. Honestly I feel like Financial Aid Officers are for the school and NOT for the students! They encourage you to take out loans without giving you vital information which can leave you with mounds of debt later. For sure look at scholarships and grants and start applying before you even consider Financial Aid. Also consider as the article states; scholarships and grants are not just for students with superior grades or stunning athletic abilities!! So don’t sell yourself short!
4. Begin investing once you graduate.
Once you graduate, re-check your finances for any leftover savings. If you have money that you haven’t yet used for school, consider investing it into a mutual fund. Making an early investment in your future can help you handle any debt that might spring up later in life.
The new year is a time to start fresh by figuring out strategies that can lead to a financially successful future. As a student, paying off your debt quickly can be beneficial to you for the rest of your life. Consider the tips above, take the money you save throughout your college career, and invest it with proper professional guidance to help make school debt one less financial issue you’ll have to worry about.
My thoughts: And begin investing now! Graduation might be too late. You have a six month grace period before payback kicks in….insider? that comes hella quick. See if you can pay interest on the loans you end up taking out (after you’ve exhausted grant and scholarship money) that way you don’t have to worry about interest or as much of it when you start paying your loans back after graduation. And Yes the article does make some good points around investing in your future so don’t forget to read!
All investing involves risk. You should consider the objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of an investment carefully before investing. This article is for informational purposes only; nothing herein should be construed as investment advice, or as a recommendation to purchase or sell a particular investment.
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