How to Avoid College Debt

by WiseFool

Starting adult life with a mountain of debt is not what any of us wants. But, if you haven't got wealthy parents, is it still possible to avoid college debt?

College should be exciting, fun-filled and enriching in many, many ways. It should prepare you for life in the 'real' world; and it should give you the knowledge required to take the first steps in your chosen profession.

What college should not be is financially stressful. We've started to become resigned to the fact that education is expensive, but it is possible to reduce the cost of college life with these simple tips.

The Growing Problem of College Debt

Money worries shouldn't hassle you come graduation timeCollege is a great experience both for learning and for life. Whether you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, a scientist, or a teacher, college gears you up for the real world.

But if there’s one thing college students want to avoid it’s debt.

There are many reasons that students fall into debt during their college years. But the most common reason is loans to pay for tuition.

And as many families still face financial troubles that began back in 2009 with the global recession, it is hard for the some students to pay back their loans. This can even come along with the risk of probation and expulsion for failure to pay fees. 

So, all things considered, it is best to steer clear of falling deeply in college debt, but how can you do that?

Avoid College Debt: Find a Job

Not your “after graduation” job.

Find a part-time job that you can do in your spare time. It may not pay much, but being able to earn something can help you manage your finances as you progress in your studies.

You may also consider establishing your own small business.

Avoid College Debt: Only go to College if You Can Pay for it

This is a very important step. Can you pay for it or not?

Don’t be so eager to run off to college until you know you can afford it. If you don't think carefully, you may regret it when you’re hit with the bill after graduating.

Remember, there's no rush to get that degree, and you may even appreciate your education if you're slightly maturer (I speak from personal experience).

Postpone the plans if you must, and while doing this step, you can….

Avoid College Debt: Start Saving

Yes, it might seem boring and it may take time to squirrel away the kind of sum you need. But there's no quick-fix; you cannot opt for sketchy plans and shady methods.

Instead, you need to save safely.

Have a good financial plan established to minimize the possibility of any money problems. When you're mind isn't preoccupied with your wallet and is, therefore, free to focus on your studies, your patience will really pay off. 

Avoid College Debt: Think Carefully About Where to Study

Yale UniversityAlways consider which school you’ll enroll in. Don’t just go for the obvious ones; check other schools that are less expensive.

While they may not be glamorous or prestigious, it’s possible to get a high quality learning experience from them.

The best education can come from not-so-ordinary, but much more affordable schools.

Avoid College Debt: If All Else Fails, Skip it

Take this step if college debt is not something you feel able to tackle, and if you don't need a college education for your chosen career.

While it may upset some family members, choosing not to attend college may mean you’ve come to terms with what you really want in life. And, unlike many of your peers, you're guaranteed to avoid the college debt trap.

Bear in mind, some people who chose to skip college became hugely successful. For example, Gene Simmons, Timothy Ferriss, and Steve Jobs are part of a long list of millionaires who defied the traditional path of education and prospered in their own way.

Updated: 07/31/2014, WiseFool
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WiseFool on 07/31/2014

Hi, Ologsinquito. You're right, it is difficult to look that far into the future when you're eighteen. The other problem, and I'm not sure whether it's the same everywhere (but my hunch is that it is), is that a lot of young people here in the U.K. are going to college/university to have a good time, without any consideration for the money that has to be paid back at the end of it.

I think, ultimately, we need to start thinking seriously about whether college is important for everybody - there are plenty of jobs that don't require a degree, and we should stop this stigma surrounding those who opt not to continue their education. Worse still, of course, is the stigma surrounding those who DO continue their education, but choose to do so at an establishment that doesn't cost the Earth. Educational elitism should be a thing of the distant past by now.

ologsinquito on 07/31/2014

This is a very good message for young people, whom don't always like to listen. It's very difficult for them to see four years ahead, and realize they'll then have to pay back all of the loans. That is, if they manage to graduate in four years. Many are on the six year plan.

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