Tips On Reducing Student Loan Debt

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 Dean and Deluca made for a fine college job, right Ben?

Currently, 40 million Americans have student loan debt. The amount of debt people are racking up is so staggering that half of the current borrowers are unable to pay off their loans, resulting in defaults that can haunt individuals’ credit ratings for years. Unfortunately, many young people heading off to college don’t have much of a choice outside of taking out loans – the number of parents who expect their offspring to pay for all or most of their higher education is on the rise. Adding insult to injury is that while the amount people owe is increasing, the average salary for young people fresh out of college is decreasing. In short, college students today are caught between a rock and a hard place.

So, short of using BIGWORDS.com to find the best deals on cheap textbooks and shave dollars off your annual costs, what can you do to try to keep loans in check? Below are some tips on how to reduce the costs of your schooling and reduce the amount you’ll owe in the future.

  • Sign on to be a resident advisor. While regulating petty roommate arguments and breaking up loud parties might not sound like the most appealing housing situation, it can pay off in the end. Many schools provide resident advisors with fully or partially subsidized housing, which can equate to tens of thousands of dollars in savings each year.
  • Just say no. When you’re in the thick of school, taking out students loans can feel like free money – and when you’re dying to take that big spring break trip, but don’t have the funds, taking out an extra couple of thousands of dollars can seem like an easy solution. But it’s not. Interest rates will apply to that loan and you’ll end up paying even more in the end. As tempting as it can be to sign on the dotted line, exercising discretion and being thrifty can pay off in the end.
  • Enter a work-study program. Many schools have work-study programs that are designed to provide students with a variety of experiences, from serving as an assistant to a professor to working as a personal trainer in the university’s fitness center. In some cases, students have the option to work in exchange for class credit, which means you’ll end up paying less in tuition. You can save thousands of dollars by taking advantage of these programs.
  • Get to work. College is all about sleeping in, nurturing friendships and having fun, right? Well, sure, but it’s also a good time to learn some responsibility – and getting a job is a great way to accomplish this, while earning some cash to pay off some of your expenses. Although it might seem like you’re not making enough cash to make a real difference, it all adds up!
Randi Whitcomb

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