You’ve worked hard to get accepted into a college or university, and now you’re closer to achieving your goals than ever before. The only thing standing between you and your diploma is graduation day—and the bills that come with it. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are several ways you can graduate from college without going into debt, and this guide is here to help you understand them.
The truth is, it’s possible to graduate from college without getting buried in debt. You just need to know how to do it right. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save money and graduate with less than $10,000 in student loans—many of which will take less than five minutes of your time each day.
Do your research beforehand
There’s no doubt about it: Going to college is expensive. But it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think. The first step toward saving money on your education is doing your research and learning which schools offer the best value for their tuition prices. Ask yourself: What am I getting out of this degree? What career will this degree enable me to pursue? Will it give me enough flexibility regarding time, location, and cost?
If you want to go into a lucrative career where you can make a lot of money and spend only part of your working hours in a classroom, it may be worth getting an expensive bachelor’s degree from an elite school. But if your goal is to graduate with as little debt as possible, then consider community college or trade school instead.
The first step to getting financial aid assistance is filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA helps determine your eligibility for loans, grants, work-study programs, and other forms of financial aid. It also determines how much money you’ll be eligible for if you want to pursue a bachelor’s degree program.
The FAFSA is available online and can be completed at any time during the year. You’ll need to include your parent’s income (if you’re a dependent student), but if you’re an independent student, then it doesn’t matter when you file your application. The sooner you file, however, the sooner you can receive financial assistance from federal and state governments.
Maximize financial aid
There are many other options for financial aid, including merit-based scholarships and grants. You can also look into applying for private loans or scholarships through your school. Keep in mind that it’s not always easy to get accepted into a school with a low sticker price if you have bad grades or a low GPA from high school. So if you plan on attending community college or trade school after high school graduation, make sure to maintain good academic standing!
Religious schools and institutions also offer scholarships to students who meet specific qualifications, such as maintaining a certain GPA or participating in religious activities like bible studies and church services. Private donors and foundations often fund these scholarships, so be sure to do your research if you’re interested in applying for one of these!
Apply for paid student positions at your school
If you’re a student at a college or university, there are usually paid positions available for students to work in the library and other campus buildings. These jobs include tutoring, teaching classes, and assisting professors with research projects and papers.
These are significant positions to get because they can help you make money and gain experience working in a professional environment. They’re also an excellent way to make new friends and connections, which can be helpful if you’re looking for an internship or full-time job after graduating.
Your hobbies and interests can help
Many schools also offer different types of scholarships for athletes, music students, and members of the Greek community. These scholarships are often awarded on a need-based basis, so if you’re applying for one, be sure to include information about your financial situation. You can also look into other types of scholarships that have nothing to do with your primary or current class schedule.
College clubs, teams, fraternities, and sororities can also provide their members with free meals, housing, and even travel expenses. The same goes for community organizations and volunteer work; if you’ve volunteered with a nonprofit or another organization, mention it in your scholarship application.
Getting a good education doesn’t have to leave you with a mountain of debt. If you’re serious about getting a degree, there are plenty of ways to make it happen without taking out student loans. With hard work and dedication, you can get the education you want without taking on more debt than necessary.