Sunday, September 11, 2011

How to Avoid Student Loan Debt


Nobody can avoid debt altogether (after all, we are a debtor nation), and if somebody can then they probably know the answer to the meaning of life as well. Credit cards, mortgages, loans for students, loans for business and loans for just about anything are a common part of our lives. There are interest payments to make, fees to pay, and service charges to decipher. If you’re about to go to college, or are in college already, there are a few ways you can avoid student loan debt.

First, try looking at some in-state schools. Tuition rates are going up across the country, even at state schools, but they are the best bargain around. Obviously, you shouldn’t limit yourself to your own geographic area when you are deciding what to do with the rest of your life, but you’d be remiss if you didn’t check out some schools that might save you a few bucks down the road and might even earn you a few bucks more than you thought.

Second, try paying down your interest while in college. The ideal college experience would be partying with a few breaks here and there for classes. College is already stressful enough; why should you have to worry about having a job in addition to your 18 hours of class, hours of studying and hours of extracurricular activities? Besides, there’s no rent on campus and while the dining hall food will make you sick at first eventually you’ll develop a stomach that could digest R2-D2. Well, making room for a part-time job will not only give you a needed break from your unreasonably smelly roommate who puts a scrunchie on the door when he’s alone, but it will also teach you responsibility, allow you to meet more people, and will help you build credit.

Third, try the military. Seriously. The Army and Army Reserve offer some great student loan repayment options and will even offer you additional money if you want to go back to school. The Montgomery GI Bill will help you transition from the military to finding a private sector job and offers you plenty of additional benefits.

Last but not least, don’t let debt weigh you down. Make your payments on time, even if they’re just the minimum, and enjoy college. It’s the best four years of your life you never want to repeat.

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