According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, college students reached a whopping average of $37,172 of student loans in 2016, the highest recorded number so far. This alarmingly high average only indicates an all-time high for the students’ average debt. Due to this, many students and their families are trying to look for solutions just to avoid such a crisis.
With the heavy pressure of getting a college degree, paired with the increasing cost of tuition, college students are looking for means on how they can pay their studies without having to rely on student loans.
If you’re like them, then these are the following things to consider:
- Apply for a scholarship
You can find tons of scholarship programs out there which provides you with countless opportunities to finance your college education. Also, they are based on several qualifications including athletics, a significant area of study, academics, accomplishments, and more.
If you’re creative, you can find even more options waiting for you out there. For example, basketball scholarships aren’t limited to basketball players. Some universities also grant such scholarship to other members such as equipment managers.
Also, even without a perfect GPA, it’s still possible to find scholarships that can suit you well.
- Make money by working on part-time jobs
Nowadays, it is normal for college students to work in a part-time job to keep their finances afloat while studying. Fortunately, there are a lot of avenues where you can earn money by just doing part-time work.
For example, you can work at a local store as an assistant for a few hours after school. Additionally, most of them are open during the weekends, allowing you to further squeeze in more time for added income.
You can also enlist in your university’s publication if you have the knack for writing and a good command of the English language. Better yet, consider helping your fellow students by writing essays in exchange for a bit of cash.
Depending on your schedule and availability, it’s possible to make a few hundred even while studying, allowing you to finance your education further.
- Consider a work-pay job on your campus
Depending on the school’s funding, you can also work at a part-time job located on your campus. A work-study job will pay directly every month, which is a nice thing as you no longer have to go outside of the campus to work.
With a work-pay job, you’ll be earning hourly wages. However, the money you receive can’t go beyond your work-study award for that year. It should also be included in the financial aid award letter from your school.
However, if you’re not qualified for a work-study job, you might want to consider other part-time jobs inside your campus instead. These can include working as a janitor, helping in the canteen, and more.
- Acquire a grant
A grant is designed for students who are in dire need of financial assistance. Most of the time, it is offered to families with an annual income of $30,000 or less. Due to its nature being a money-free aid that doesn’t require repayment, it can certainly help you finish your studies without having to suffer from the dreaded student loan.
Also, grants are often need-based as opposed to scholarships which are merit-based. They’re also based on financial situations, although many different factors may even come into play.
In the US, federal grants are offered to students who are attending a four-year university, career school, or community college. However, the specifics could vary from one state to another.
- Apply for specific scholarships
Most specific scholarships are granted to students who belong to one particular ethnicity or family affiliation. These scholarships are created for the benefit of ethnic minorities. As such, you can typically find specific scholarships that cater to Asian-Americans, African-Americans, Hispanics, and more.
In some countries like France, the local government will offer scholarships to students who are from certain countries. For example, if you’re from Asia and decided to study in France, their local government will provide you with a specific scholarship.
These programs are also aimed at minority studies who want to pursue an education where they’ve been under-represented concerning history. Also, some organisations offer scholarships to students who are physically disabled as well as those with learning disabilities.
- Reduce your overall expenses
While technically not a means to earn money while studying, this can help you manage your finances properly. By reducing the amount you spend on a lot of stuff, you can also lower your overall education cost.
Here are some of the ideas you want to consider:
Instead of driving a car to get to school, save money by leaving it at home and use the public commute instead. This way, you can cut down on your gas expenses, parking tickets, car maintenance, and more.
When renting, choose a dorm that’s budget-friendly. Dorms that are located far from the campus tend to be a lot cheaper compared to ones that are nearby. If your house is not that far away, you can save even further by living there instead.
Reduce food expenses by avoiding eating out as much as possible. It’s ideal to cook your food and have a meal plan so you can adequately manage your food consumption.
The Bottom Line
In most cases, you can’t avoid applying for a student loan, especially if your budget begins to get a little too tight. Regardless, you have to prioritise graduating college without any debts as much as possible. Follow these tips, and can you inevitably lower, if not eliminate, your student loan debt.