Do you have student loan debt? If so, you’re not alone. According to the website American Student Assistance, “There is roughly somewhere between $902 billion and $1 trillion in total outstanding student loan debt in the United States today.” Of all the students currently in college, 12 million are borrowing to attend school.
Some would argue that student loans are “still worth it.” They are an investment in the future. Statistically, they might make sense for you in your chosen field.
But if you could avoid graduating with a mountain of debt, why wouldn’t you?
There are plenty of reasons to consider not taking out student loans. Though interest rates are typically low, the debt can still take years – or decades – to repay. Also, once you have a significant loan in your life, you may also have less flexibility in your major or career choices.
Want to graduate with minimal or even no debt? Here are some alternative options to get you started:
- Begin at a community college. These local options are usually much more financially savvy options. Claims that these colleges are “last resorts” for students who couldn’t be accepted anywhere else is a myth.
- Stay in state. Unless you have a fantastic scholarship, out-of-state college tuition can be steep. For example, the difference at the University of Michigan is $40,496 for out-of-state and $13,819 for in-state students. Odds are, no matter where you come from, you can get a great undergraduate degree from a state school.
- Work through college. Already attending college? Start working as much as you can. Your education should be the top priority, but if you do have extra time, consider finding a job. As an added bonus, working in college could actually improve your GPA.
- Find grants, scholarships and financial aid. Yes, the application process can be time consuming. But, as LearnVest.com asks: “What if someone said, “Hey you’re so smart, I’m going to give you $50,000!”?” All of that paperwork might suddenly seem worth it!
Do you agree or disagree with any of these suggestions? What are your opinions of student loans? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!