How to Avoid College Debt

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How to Avoid College Debt
Col ege tuition and fees have hit the roof. In fact, cost has become one of the most important deciding
factors when deciding whether or not to go to col ege.
According to Col ege Board, the average tuition and fees charged by public and private non-profit four-
year col eges in 2011-12 ranged between $8,244 and $28,500 per year. The cost was considerably lower
in public two-year col eges, at $2,963 per year.1
However, that's not the entire cost of attending col ege. Add to that associated costs like room and board,
books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses, and you have provided yourself with a yearly
bil that can run into tens of thousands of dol ars.
Natural y, not everyone has pockets that are large enough to support this kind of expense, no matter how
worthy the cause. That's why every year, many students resort to taking out loans to finance their
education and end up piling up a huge debt by the time they graduate.
Col ege debt may seem like a necessary evil, but believe it or not, avoiding it is not as hard as it sounds.
Taking stock of your resources and planning ahead is the key to avoiding col ege debt. If you're on the
threshold of starting col ege, here are some tips on how to avoid col ege debt.
Look for tuition financial aid
According to Col ege Board, most students receive some sort of financial aid, and this is what helps make
col ege education remain within the reach of many families. Our federal government spends bil ions of
dol ars every year in scholarships and grants for deserving and qualified col ege students. Though the
amount of grants/scholarships varies, it can actual y pay amounts up to the ful tuition and fees of a
col ege education for qualified students, depending on the award.
In addition to federal financial aid for those who qualify, state governments, professional bodies, military
and individual col eges also run financial aid programs that students can take advantage of, if they qualify.
Graduate early
Another means of avoiding col ege debt is to hasten your graduation. Just think about it: the less time you
spend in col ege, the lower your cost will be. And how exactly does one graduate early, you may ask? A
couple of ways to graduate early from col ege are:
* Taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school to earn col ege credits.
* Enrol ing in accelerated degree programs that can be finished in less-than-normal completion
Choose your college wisely
It might be tempting to choose a col ege that's thousands of miles away from home--after al , it maybe
your first brush with independence. But there are certain benefits of staying close to where you grew up.
First, out-of-state students have to pay a surcharge for attending public four-year col eges and second,
many students find it possible to cut down on col ege expenses like room and board by staying put at

home. It's an option you should consider if money is real y tight, because what's important is that you get
the education you deserve, even if it means missing out on the whole "col ege experience."
Consider going online
Online courses provide yet another means of avoiding col ege debt. Not only do they turn out to be more
economical as compared to classroom-based programs, but online degree programs also often al ow
students to keep a ful -time job and pay their way through col ege.
You can choose a ful y online school or take online classes from a brick-and-mortar col ege. As long as
your degree is earned from an accredited institution, most employers accept degrees from online
institutions. Moreover, some employers provide tuition assistance to their employees, and you can use
this benefit to finance your attendance at a legitimate online degree program.
Spend responsibly
Student credit cards are a reality of modern-day col ege life, and even necessary to some extent. But
having this kind of spending power also means that you must learn to use it responsibly. Every year,
col ege students pile up a huge credit card debt. When added to the already mounting debt from their
student loan, it can put them into a bad financial situation once they graduate.
Therefore, it's important not to be credit card-happy when paying your bil s. As far as possible, keep it for
emergency situations or big expenses, and use cash or a debit card to pay for your daily bil s.
You should also make sure that you pay your credit card bil s on time, not just to avoid late payment fees
and interest charges, but also to build a good credit history.
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