As soon as high school education is completed, many young folks are eager to further their education by attending college. Some students are lucky enough to get a college degree without encountering any financial difficulties, especially when their parents or family members are financially stable. But sadly, some college students end up incurring student loans and spend almost a decade paying off the debt.
If you are looking forward to attending college, you must figure out how to avoid student loans and bag your degree successfully. Graduating from college without having to worry about paying off student loans is a great relief, and you can spend your income on other important things.
In order to provide insight into how to avoid student loans, this post will share some practical debt prevention strategies for college students. Implementing some of these strategies will significantly increase your chances of avoiding student debt.
Is It Possible To Avoid Student Loans?
It’s absolutely possible to avoid student loans. You don’t even need to have rich parents or wealthy relatives to attend college freely. There are certain things you can deliberately do on your own to prevent yourself from applying for student loans, whether private or federal. You will get to learn these prevention methods in this article.
How Can I Avoid Student Loans?
If your parents can’t afford to send you to college, you can decide to make enough money on your own before furthering your education. You can find a work-from-home job that enables you to make a decent amount of money and save for college.
Reasons Why You Should Avoid Student Loans
Owing student loans after your college education can be pretty disturbing, and you may find it hard to focus on certain key areas of your life. But more importantly, here are some major and specific reasons why you must avoid student loans while in college:
- Your Credit Score
If you care about your credit score, you will try as much as possible to learn how to avoid student loans. Student loan debt can severely impact your credit score when you fail to pay on time.
These loans will also alter the ratio of how much you own and how much money you earn. This can be a major problem when you are unable to get your dream job with a big paycheck. By working a job that subjects you to a low income, you won’t be able to pay off your debt on time, which damages your credit score.
It would be difficult to apply for loans next time because you have a history of delayed payments. Also, some employers usually run a credit check on job applicants before hiring them.
- The Critical Financial Setback
This is another interesting reason you must know how to avoid student loans. Having student loans to pay off will make you start your career in a financial hole. You won’t be financially capable of living in a nice apartment or purchasing a luxury car.
A vast amount of your money would be constantly channeled to paying off the student loan debt. To make matters worse, this could make you start living paycheck to paycheck until you have finished paying off completely.
- No Borrower Protection (For Private Student Loans)
If you are taking private student loans, don’t expect any borrower protection. Unlike federal loans, there would be nothing like income-based repayment plans and deferments that give borrowers flexibility in paying off the debt.
Private loans would also require you to start making payments even before you graduate from college. That would be extremely difficult since you can’t have a full-time job until your college education is completed.
9 Key Strategies To Avoid Student Loans
Avoiding student loan debt while in college is not easy, but it’s very feasible. Here are some fantastic strategies that would prove helpful:
1. Hybrid Learning
Online-based is becoming more acceptable than ever before. It’s a good option to consider if you aren’t interested in attending physical classes in college. Hybrid learning doesn’t only offer flexibility; it is also much more affordable than the conventional college education. You can drastically cut down costs when you embrace hybrid learning.
Due to the flexibility that comes with this virtual learning experience, you can get a high-paying part-time job that enables you to pay your school fees and your bills as well.
Unity college offers a variety of hybrid programs and degrees, and you may never have to take any student loans. Apparently, hybrid learning is one of the sure ways to avoid student debt.
2. Choose An Affordable School
Except you are very comfortable financially, why would you decide to attend Harvard University? That’s ridiculous. To reduce your chances of applying for student loans, you must find a school that doesn’t break the bank. For example, a public in-state college would cost far less than a popular private university.
If you look forward to learning how to avoid college debt, make sure you painstakingly consider the school fees of the varsity you intend to school in. It should be affordable.
3. Transfer Credits
If you think attending a state or community college isn’t the right decision, you can still take advantage of these schooling opportunities by transferring credits.
You can still take general ed classes at your local community college even before your exit from high school, enabling you to get dual credit for both high school and college. These credits can then be transferred to your preferred university, reducing the overall cost of your college degree.
This may not be a regular strategy to help you learn how to avoid student loans, but it’s feasible and can be effective. But before applying this strategy, make sure you examine the transfer requirements.
4. Apply For Scholarships
Remember that one of the best ways to avoid student loans is by applying for scholarships. Each year, thousands of college students are bagging degrees on scholarships.
If you are book smart, make sure to apply for all available scholarship opportunities, especially when the varsity is within your state of residence. Aside from attending college on scholarship, you can also prevent student loan debt by applying for grants from the federal government.
For example, the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a great opportunity to get assistance from the government. Simply go to the official website, fill out the form and submit it immediately. After submitting your application, you would have to wait a while to see if you are eligible for the grant. Before your application, however, you will be briefed on the requirements for eligibility.
5. Test Out Of Courses
Some general ed courses offer you an opportunity to “test out”. For example, when you take the College-level Examination Program (CLEP) exams for classes such as basic math or English 101 will help you obtain college credit without you spending time on classes. Although these exams are not free, the cost is much lower than the class fee.
However, make sure you study hard in high school so you can use that knowledge when testing out college-level courses. This is clearly another helpful tip on how to avoid student loans.
6. Work On-Campus
One effective strategy for lowering the cost of a college education is finding on-campus jobs. Various simple on-campus jobs will help you make a fair amount of money weekly or monthly. Taking up any of the jobs available can help you raise some cash to supper the payment of your school fees.
For example, you can become a Resident Advisor in your college dorm, receiving discounts on food and housing until you graduate from the varsity. This will lower your living costs and help you understand how to avoid student loans.
7. Find A Part-Time Job
If you think on-campus jobs won’t help you raise enough money, then you should get a proper part-time job that will fetch you up to $3000 per month. Ideally, finding a freelance job is the best way to earn substantial money while in college.
For example, you can choose to become a content writer, graphic designer, video editor, or voice-over artist.
8. Discuss Repayment Plans
Before applying to study in a college on student loans, ensure you talk to the college concerning their repayment options. It’s one of the known strategies to avoid student loans before it’s too late.
Some schools require students to pay upfront, while others spread the tuition fees out over time, making it easier for students to pay. This is usually interest-free – additional payments to the actual amount borrowed. As long as you are fine with the terms of your school regarding the repayment method, you can go ahead and begin your college education.
9. Cut Living Costs
As a college student trying to figure out how to avoid student loan debt, you must prioritize frugal living.
Find creative ways to drastically reduce your expenses to save money. If you closely examine some of your major expenses, such as utilities, feeding, transportation, and house rent, you will realize that you are probably not living below your means. Find opportunities to live frugally until you start making more than enough money after paying for your college education.
The good thing about cutting your living costs is that it teaches you how to manage money effectively and make the most of what you have. Even if your income is low, being frugal will enable you to be satisfied with what you have until your income grows bigger.
If you need help reducing your expense, here are 25 frugal living tips that will help you save a ton of money.
10. Pay In Installments (Bonus Tip)
If your varsity allows you to pay in installments, then you should stop worrying about how to avoid student loans.
This installment payment option is usually flexible, and if you have a stable part-time income, you can raise money and settle part payments of your tuition fees. You may be required to pay monthly over a semester or year. However, paying for your college in installments is feasible when your tuition fees don’t break the bank.
If you are attending an expensive private university, the tuition fees might still break the bank even if you are given the opportunity to pay in installments. Make sure you attend an affordable school that is within your financial capability.
Final Words On How To Avoid Student Loans
As much as there are various tips on how to avoid student loans, it’s best you have a source of income (part-time job or side business) while you are in college. As long as there is cash flow, you can save for your tuition fees and settle your bills simultaneously.
Paying for your college education only becomes extremely difficult when there’s no income stream to keep you afloat. This advice should be taken seriously, especially when your parents aren’t financially healthy enough to fund your college degree.
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