Many financial authorities that once encouraged the used of student loans are now encouraging students to avoid them. Not only is the cost of college rising but the number of students getting fully employed right after graduating is decreasing. This leaves students with large loans for college that they do not have the money to pay off. So how does a student get a college education without taking out large student loans? They start finding ways to reduce the cost of college and find alternate ways to pay for their education.
Buy or Rent Used Books
Never pay for a brand new textbook when used options are available. Sites like Amazon and Half.com offer used textbooks for less than half of what you would pay for a new book at the university bookstore. Just find the ISBN numbers for the books you need and do a 5 minute search. If there is no used books available, you can always choose to rent your books. This option is also less expensive than buying new and you will never have to worry whether the bookstore will buy back your textbooks. These tips can reduce the amount of money you spend on books by over $500 per semester.
If you took advanced courses during high school or are great with self-study, you can gain college credits by testing out of required courses. CLEP test are accepted by almost every college and they cost less than $100 a piece. That is a significant savings over the cost of a traditional college course. Just make sure the college you will be attending will accept the CLEP so you do not waste time or money. Can you feel the money running back to your wallet?
Find a Community College
A local community college is another way to receive college credits for a fraction of the cost of a university. These college typically offer the same basic classes for degrees and the credits will typically transfer to a university later on. This means you can get the college education you want with much smaller student loans. Not to mention the added benefit of smaller classes and a less intimidating campus.
Take it Slow
Who says you have to complete your degree in 4 years? Instead, choose to only take 6 hrs per semester rather than a full 12. This will allow you to pay for more of your college out of pocket rather than taking out student loans. Save a few hundred dollars every semester to put toward next semesters tuition and you will notice the financial difference by the time you have your degree.
Earn More Money
Since you are only going to school part time to avoid student loans, why not use that extra time to make more money. Start working a part-time or even a full-time job when you are not in school. Then find a side job like baby sitting or earning money online to do when you have extra time. Use that money to cover living expenses while you are in school rather than taking out a loan or use it to pay for next semesters tuition.
Bring Down Living Costs
In addition to making money to keep you away from student loans, it is also important to save money on your living expenses. Start looking for ways you can save money in your monthly budget. Choose to live at home instead of having your own apartment. Search for a cheaper place to live if you are on your own. Start cutting down your food and entertainment costs. Walk or bike to school instead of driving. The ways you can save money every month are only limited to how creative you are and what you are willing to cut out. Just remember when you are cutting your lifestyle, you will benefit in the long run from your sacrifices.
Many students never bother to fill out the FASFA because they think they will never receive anything from it. Little do they know that this little form can bring them thousands of dollars a semester from a variety of different programs depending on your income and school you are attending. Chances are, you will at least receive some financial aid and something is better than nothing. So go ahead and fill out the boring paperwork so you can reduce your student loan even more.
When it comes to attending college without getting a student loan, you have to make sacrifices and find ways to save money on your college education. If you are very careful with how you spend your money while you are in school and how you take your classes, there may be no need for you to get into debt while you are a student. Making these financial choices now will have large consequences as your life continues. Whether those consequences are good or bad will depend entirely on you.