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3 Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt

3 Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt

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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10 Best Places for Teens to Work

10 Best Places for Teens to Work

The 10 Best Places for Teens to Work

Getting your very first job is a landmark moment in the journey to adulthood, and summer break is the perfect opportunity for teens to jump into the workforce. Though academics and extracurriculars should always be a student’s main focus, it never hurts to allow young adults the opportunity to gain some marketable real-world skills that will be greatly beneficial to them later in life.
 
If you’re interested in encouraging your teen to take up a summer job, there’s never been a better time. More and more companies offer entry-level positions to students who are at least 16 years of age, with some even allowing 14-year-olds to work as well. The following is a list of 10 of the best places for teens to work. Many even offer certain benefits like college tuition compensation, scholarships, free or discounted products, and the potential for future promotions. Take a look below to see some of the best places for teens to work.

Where should your teen apply, today? 

1. Publix: Rated one of Fortune magazine’s “100 best companies to work for” for a consistent 20 years, Publix is by far one of the best places for teens to work. Though most positions for new workers are as grocery baggers, the company believes strongly in promoting from within and offers yearly pay raises. Publix also offers tuition reimbursement for college, university, or technical school to any associate that has been with the company at least six months and works at least 10 hours per week.
 
2. Starbucks: One of the largest coffeehouse chains in the world, Starbucks is a great option for teens who may not have any prior work experience. The company thoroughly trains its employees, or “partners,” to become expert baristas and offers three free drinks and one free food item per shift. On top of this, Starbucks offers 100 percent tuition coverage for partners working at least 20 hours per week who wish to achieve a first-time bachelor’s degree through Arizona State University’s online program.
 
3. Local Public Pool or Water Park: For teens interested in spending their summer lounging by the pool, working as a lifeguard could be the perfect option. Students as young as 15 can achieve their lifeguarding certification through the Red Cross for as little as $100, depending on the location of the class. Once they’ve been certified, students not only have the potential to earn from $10 to $20 an hour, but they’ve also gained highly important life-saving skills, such as how to administer CPR and how to respond in water-related emergencies.
 
4. Chipotle: The Mexican restaurant that’s taken the world by storm offers numerous benefits to part-time employees. These benefits include a free shift meal, 50-percent off meals when not working, yearly raises, and up to 99 percent off college tuition costs. With a fun company culture and flexible hours, your teen will likely jump at the chance to eat free Chipotle all summer.
 
5. Chick-fil-A: As one of the most popular fast-food chains in the country, Chick-fil-A has long been renowned for its exceptionally friendly employees and its delicious chicken sandwiches. With benefits like the opportunity to earn scholarships of up to $25,000 or other tuition discounts, the possibility of a free shift meal depending on store location, the opportunity for leadership and management training, and guaranteed Sundays off, Chick-fil-A is a great option for teens who want to build their customer service skills.
 
6. McDonald’s: The world-famous golden arches offer a great opportunity for teens to gain experience in the food industry, plus benefits such as the Archways to Opportunity program, which provides scholarships, tuition assistance, and management training to employees. McDonald’s also offers free or discounted meals and snacks, so your teen can enjoy big macs all summer long at little to no cost.
 
7. AMC Entertainment: Is your teen a movie buff in the making? Encourage them to apply for a position at AMC Theatres, where they’ll have the opportunity to get free movie passes and discounted concessions. They’ll love spending their summer watching all the latest box office hits while gaining customer service skills and having the flexible schedule they need.
 
8. Barnes & Noble: For kids who’d rather have their nose in a book than their eyes on a screen, Barnes & Noble is the place to be. Discounts on merchandise like books, devices, and tech accessories are just the tip of the iceberg. The company also offers tuition reimbursement for approved college courses. Age requirements vary per store, but most entry-level bookseller or café positions at Barnes & Noble start at 16 years of age.
 
9. Cold Stone Creamery: A summer spent beating the heat by snacking on ice cream and singing for tips? Sounds like teenage heaven. The ice cream franchise describes its company culture as positive, fast-paced, and fun, making it a perfect first job for students.
 
10. Papa John’s: Restaurant team members at Papa John’s have the benefit of an extremely flexible schedule on top of receiving weekly paychecks, giving your teen a guaranteed weekly income to spend on fun summer activities when they’re not at work. Plus, who can resist free or discounted pizza?
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5 Important Financial Habits to Teach Your Teen

5 Important Financial Habits to Teach Your Teen

Five Important Financial Habits to Teach Your Teen

Children often learn simply by going about their young lives and absorbing everything the world has to offer, like a sponge absorbing water. As kids spend a majority of their time with their parents, it falls on parents’ shoulders to instill healthy, positive habits within the minds of their little ones. But one life lesson that often gets overlooked is how to manage money, in other words the financial habits.
 
According to a 2013 study from the University of Cambridge, kids begin to learn “finance behaviours” by the tender age of seven. So even if you’ve never said a single word to your child about money, chances are that he or she has already picked up on your own spending habits from mere observation. If you’re not quite sure where or how to start that conversation, we’ve got you covered. Here are five financial habits that all kids should learn by the time they become a teen.
 
Lesson one: money doesn’t grow on trees. Though this may seem obvious, kids tend not to concern themselves with the troubles of adulthood. Your child should understand that you go to work in order to make money, and that currency is not unlimited. An easy way to implement this in your child’s life is by offering them an allowance in exchange for doing household chores.
 
Lesson two: don’t spend it all in one place. Sticking to a budget can be difficult for even the most frugal adults, so
you’ll want your kids to start practicing as soon as possible. When they realize their weekly allowance can’t buy them a movie ticket, a candy bar, and a new video game, they’ll learn firsthand the importance of spending wisely.
 
Lesson three: patience is a virtue. In the age of the Internet, instant gratification is at the touch of our fingertips, and kids are used to getting exactly what they want when they want it. But teaching them how to wait before they buy will help them begin learning how to avoid debt
from impulse buying as well as how to wait for bargain prices on their favorite items.
 
Lesson four: set a goal. Help your child buy that brand new toy by showing them how to save their money. Set them up with a notebook where they can keep track of how much money they’ve accumulated. In no time, they’ll be feeling the gratification of reaching their goal by
buying what they like with their own hard-earned cash.
 
Lesson five: communication is key. Certain aspects of the real world aren’t always explained clearly to children, such as taxes or tipping. Work on clarifying these things in a manner your kids will understand so they can move into young adulthood with ease. There’s no doubt that every parent wants nothing more than to set their children up for success later in life. Follow these five tips to ensure your kids begin to practice good financial habits while they’re young.
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