Most students are in hurry to get to college. The problem is that money mistakes can happen quickly, and impact the college-bound student for many years. If the message in this article is spread early enough, it’s possible that we can help a few young students. To make the best financial decisions regarding college student debt, start planning early in High School.
In fact, understanding the intricacies of student debt early on can be crucial in making informed decisions about one’s higher education and financial future. My Debt Advisors has always emphasized the importance of financial literacy for students, especially when considering the rising education costs and student loan debt. By providing ample resources and insights, we aim to ensure that young scholars are well-equipped to manage their finances and make the best choices for their academic and financial paths.
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#1 Remember, not all college degrees are created equal. During High School, start researching degrees vs careers and ensure that what you’re considering pursuing in college will be a legitimate way to earn a decent living, provide enough income to support your desired lifestyle, and pay off any student loans.
#2 This is to parents-of course you want to encourage your kids to “follow their passion.” However, some interests make better hobbies than careers. Is a four year university right for your child or would a tech school or community college be more beneficial? Weigh your options and choose the best case scenario.
#3 Early in High School, apply for every student scholarship you can gets your hands on. Get organized, and hit them hard because they are usually tax-free. They can pay for all or part of a degree program at an eligible institution. Hard work and dedication to this incentive will pay itself off…and then some.
#4 Encourage your college bound student to live at home while going to school. Sure, the ‘college experience’ may be hampered by living at home, but the long-term benefits of saving “cost of living expenses,” are huge. (Not to mention, most kids who live in dorms want to come home pretty quickly.) Pull together numbers and face the facts directly.
#5 Encourage part-time work during college. There are many jobs offered right on campus in both public and private colleges. Help them start a savings account and begin to build credit. Although they may be living at home, they should still adhere to a college student’s budget and learn financial responsibility.
#6 BUT, don’t work so much that it extends an early graduation date. The quicker you can obtain your college degree, the better! Stay focused and informed. Don’t take an entire summer off, try reducing credit hours instead. Plan your classes in advance to see when the courses you need are available. Talk to a guidance counselor at school.
#7 At minimum, try to pay upfront for books each semester. Opt for online books instead of hard copies whenever possible. Visit used book stores and look for ads from other students who are hoping to sell their used books. Google the book needed and see if there are other alternative options that will save some cash.
#8 Try to take out loans for only what is absolutely needed. Banks will offer more. Federal Student Loans will offer entirely more than what you need. That extra money can be tempting. Don’t spend borrowed money when you don’t really need it. If you can pay for any percentage of your classes upfront, do it.
#9 Ask your lender if you can earn a performance bonus,or performance credit based upon good grades. If you qualify, be sure to place it right back into your student loan. It’s not easy to do, but you’ll be happy you did.
#10 Students should choose online books instead of hard copies whenever possible. Visit used book stores and look for ads from other students who are hoping to sell their used books. Google the book needed and see if there are other alternative options that will save some cash. Some professors and counselors may also be of assistance.
These are all great tips to avoid getting into debt while pursuing a higher level of education. We all make mistakes, and sometimes, life just happens! If you find yourself in financial trouble, just know that there is hope. For those in the Milwaukee area, consider reaching out to the Downtown Milwaukee office of Debt Advisors for a free debt review to discuss bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy options. Their experienced team can provide the guidance and support you need during challenging financial times