College doesn’t come cheap but there are many things you can do to lower your costs and get that degree with minimal debt.
1. Student Debt Stats
There’s no arguing that student loan statistics are scary. 2020 data shows that student loan debt in the United States totals $1.71 trillion. What’s even scarier is that this figure is growing six times faster than the nation’s economy. 43.2 million student borrowers have an average debt of $39,351 each.
Just getting a bachelor degree is expensive as the average public university student borrows $30,030 to attain it. However, the good news is that more than 35 million of these borrowers may qualify for student debt relief under the CARES Act of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic made matters worse and student loan debt is now the second-highest consumer debt category.
Even when there is equality in loan distribution, experiences vary greatly as 48% of students felt taking a loan was forth it yet 53% of millennials have not bought a home because student loan debt either disqualified them or made it impossible for them to afford a mortgage.
This sort of black and white difference tells us there are many factors involved and that our actions have a big say in the matter.
2. How To Graduate College With Minimal Debt
Whether you’re already in college, or are about to be, there are things you can do right now to graduate with less debt.
Do what you can at community college
Community college is usually much more affordable. Generally, you can transfer credits earned from a community college, just make sure to get a confirmation from the school you plan to attend.
Buy second-hand books
Used textbooks are just as good and their cost will be much easier to bare.
Lower your accommodation costs
If you can, stay with your parents as living on campus is expensive. If you don’t have this alternative, get a roommate to split the cost of rent, Pepco utilities and furniture.
Look for a scholarship
Looking for a scholarship is just like looking for a job. There’s no reason to pass up an opportunity to get free money, all you have to do is do your research.
Get a job
Getting a part-time job or a paid internship means having to borrow less money.
3. Tips On Paying Off Your Student Debt Fast
In a nutshell, the most effective way to pay off student loans fast is to pay more than the minimum payment in any way you can because that means paying less in interest overall.
Use your job as your advantage
A number of jobs offer student loan forgiveness in exchange for working in a service capacity. Examples are doctors, nurses, lawyers and public servants. Some employers also offer student loan assistance as part of their benefits package, so it could be worth taking this into account as you look for your next job or just ask your existing employer if he or she would consider it.
Make budget cuts
The obvious pay for you to be able to pay more than the minimum is to trim your expenses. Cook instead of eating out – getting takeaway or ordering delivery count as ‘eating out’. Adopt energy-efficient habits to lower your utility bill. Challenge yourself only to spend on basic needs for a while.
Pay off capitalized interest
The interest that isn’t paid off adds to your balance which causes you to pay more on your student loans overall. Typically, this interest accrues while you’re still in school or if you’re still in your grace period. But, if you make payments every month, your student loan balance will be less and therefore easier to pay off since you’ll avoid capitalization. Paying off the accrued interest can help lower your balance immensely.
College isn’t cheap, but it’s an excellent investment in yourself. Like with any investment, you need to take proactive steps to ensure the highest return and that involves graduating with minimal debt. Obviously, talking about paying off loans or getting into minimal debt is easier said than done. Although it will likely involve making some sacrifices, all you have to do is keep the big picture in mind.