If you are one of the many prospective college students who are thinking about higher education, but are incredibly intimidated by the prospect of a towering mountain of student debt greeting you at graduation, then you are not alone, and more importantly, there are several things you can do to ensure that you will graduate from college completely debt free.
1. Financial Aid
Perhaps one of the most effective ways to come out of college debt free is to perform well in high school and on your college entrance exams so that you will be rewarded ample scholarship money and other merit based financial aid. This is obviously much easier said than done, but it should also factor in when you are deciding which school to attend. If you have been accepted into two very similar schools, but one has offered you a significant merit based financial aid reward, then that school is probably the smarter choice because attending there will make it much easier for you to graduate completely debt free. Attending a school that provides you with a strong financial aid package is incredibly important if you are very concerned about the level of student debt that you will accrue.
2. Work During College
Another great way to minimize your debt during your college years is to get a job outside of school so that you can earn money while you are not in class or doing homework. Although college is a lot of work, there will be plenty of time for you to do outside work at a part time job. This will help you keep costs low and will hopefully allow you to graduate with minimal, if any, student debt.
3. Continue Applying for Scholarships
There are also plenty of scholarships and student cash prize contests available year round. These types of programs often require you to write an essay or a paper as part of your application materials, but if you put together a strong enough application package then you could be rewarded with nice sums of money that can alleviate some of the financial burden. These outside contests are a great way to earn extra money to help you finance your higher education.
4. Take a Year to Work Full Time
A fourth method to make sure that you graduate from college without any student debt is to take some time off between high school and college to work full time. If you can find a decent paying job after you graduate high school then you should try to save as much money as possible to finance your college tuition and living expenses. This approach takes time and patience, but it will be very worth it in the long run if you work hard enough and save enough money to guarantee that you will graduate with zero student debt.
5. Part Time Student with a Full Time Job
A final way to graduate from college without any student debt is to go to school as a part time student, while working a full time job. If you do this right and are in a strong enough position, then you can even make money while you are attending college, rather than leaving school with an insurmountable amount of debt like many of your classmates. The only downside to this approach is that it will take you longer than most full time students to get your degree. This loss in time is a small price to pay though if you can graduate with a great degree and no debt.
Student debt is a serious problem for many recent graduates, but if you use the advice detailed above and work hard, then you will have a great chance at leaving school completely debt free. Even if you go the part time route and graduate a year or two later than your peers, you will undoubtedly be very happy with your decision if it leaves you with none of their crippling student debt.
Arnold Cox is a writer that produces articles in the field of education. This article was written to explain the possibility of leaving college debt free and to encourage higher education, such as a Masters in Higher Education Online.