3 Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt
In 2016, Consumer Reports found that over 42 million Americans were in debt due to student loans, a debt that totaled to $1.3 trillion. This year, that debt has grown to $1.56 trillion, affecting 45 million people across the country. Examining the numbers, you may be led to believe that there is no way to avoid student loan debt! With the constant pressure and growing competition students, and with public funding falling for federal financial aid, many are forced to take out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans that they are then saddled with for life. However, some students are taking extreme action to avoid student loan debt, including joining the U.S. military or working multiple jobs to stay afloat.
Though it has become increasingly difficult for students to stay away from falling into the student loan trap, it is not impossible to get a degree debt-free. Here are three ways to avoid student loan debt.
1. Earn as many scholarships as possible.
One way to ensure your student can afford a bright academic future is through merit-based scholarships. Programs like the Georgia HOPE scholarship exist in order to reward students for their exceptional performance in high school. The HOPE scholarship offers up to $1800 per semester for students graduating with a minimum 3.0 GPA. All 50 states offer financial assistance to high academic achievers, so encourage your student to study hard! Some students may even qualify for scholarships for reasons as simple as ethnicity, gender, major, or career field. For more information, check out chamberofcommerce.org for their updated list on the best college scholarships of 2019. There you will find details and tips on how to find scholarships and when to apply, as well as a list of scholarships you should consider applying for.
2. Get college credit before graduating high school.
Almost all high schools in the U.S. offer AP, IB, dual enrollment, or early admissions opportunities to students. It is highly recommended that students take advantage of these courses whenever possible. With AP and IB courses, students must pass both the class itself and the end-of-year exam in order to receive college credit. Dual enrollment and early admissions involve students taking some or all of their courses for the semester free of charge at a local college, receiving credit for both their high school and college requirements. All of these provide a great option for high-achieving students looking to impress a college admissions board and save money on expensive courses.
3. Work for a company that offers tuition reimbursement.
More and more businesses are beginning to understand the value of higher education, offering scholarships or tuition assistance to their employees. For example, Publix offers up to $12,800 in tuition assistance to those who have been employed with the grocery chain for at least six months, while UPS offers up to $25,000 in educational aid to its part-time employees. Before deciding on a company, be sure to research where they stand with tuition reimbursement. Already have a job? Ask a manager. You just may be in luck!
One important factor to remember is that the resources are out there– You just have to look. There are numerous websites that offer information on scholarships, grants, and other aid. In fact, we offer workshops on many different topics to help students out, as well! With a host of programs coming soon, please be sure to join the mailing list below so that you won’t miss out!
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