If you are considering a college education, you may have resigned yourself to a lifetime of debt in order to receive the degree you want. However, if you play your cards right, you may be able to avoid student loans, or at least greatly lower the amount you must have in debt. Here are some tips to help you avoid taking on too many student loans.

First, make sure you explore all scholarship and grant options. Remember, there are many places to look for scholarships and grants outside of those offered by the government and the school you are attending. You may be able to find a scholarship through your parent's employer. Many large corporations offer scholarships to outstanding students of their employees. You may be able to earn a scholarship by performing community service and being noticed by an organization or company in your community. You may also qualify for grants by pursuing a specific degree field.

In order to qualify for grants and scholarships, you must begin planning in high school. Your grades are going to be a factor when it comes to these applications. Companies offering money for college want to see that it is going to a qualified individual who takes studying seriously. Also, you will want to perform community service, because many grants are looking for "outstanding" young people to reward.

Another way to lower your tuition costs in college is to take advanced placement classes in high school. Some of these classes allow you to then test out of a standard college course, such as English 101 or entry-level math. This will lower your bill by lowering the number of credits you have to take to graduate.

Do not forget to look into public service options. You do not have to join the military to have your schooling paid for, although this is a viable option. Americorps and other public service corps often offer college tuition in exchange for a few years of work in their programs.

When you do enter school, make wise courses. Consider starting out in a community college. These are typically more affordable than a four-year college or university, and they allow you to take some of the basic credits you will need for your degree. You can participate in a work-study program or work for the school to receive discounts on tuition and special wages while you are at school. Avoid the temptation to over spend while you are at school, and put every cent you can afford towards your school bill. By doing this, you can graduate with far less debt than the average student, and soon be able to enjoy the fruits of your hard work.