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Why is student loan debt a growing problem in the U.S.? How can you streamline your education and avoid student loan debt?
The cost of education continues to rise in the United States. The average student loan debt also increases, causing problems for thousands of individuals seeking education. Research shows that the current student loan burden in the U.S. is $1.7 trillion. It has increased by 102% in the last ten years.
However, loans are an optimal way to fund education for students whose parent’s can’t afford or access scholarships. Still, most students can’t handle the stress of the repayment process after the grace period ends. Today’s article will discuss a few practical ways to avoid or reduce student loan debt. Read on!
The best way to avoid student loan debt is to save money a few years before college. There are numerous ways to save money for college. These include Roth IRA, Savings account, Coverdell Education Savings account, and 529 plan.
For example, if you opt for a 529 plan, you can spend your money on 529-qualified expenses, including room, tuition, supplies, board, and other fees. Likewise, spending money on unqualified costs can cause problems, and you may pay a 10% penalty or income tax.
Consider No Loan Colleges
Although each college in the U.S. is different, some educational institutions offer financial aid to students. However, most schools have limited aid opportunities for students. So, looking for colleges that go the extra mile is an excellent way to avoid student loan debts because they don’t charge tuition fees.
Consider “no loan” colleges that make substantial efforts to help students avoid taking out loans. These colleges provide financial solutions for students. However, getting admission to such an institution will be challenging.
Compare public and private college costs to minimize student loan debt. For example, the average price of studying in a private university is $55,800. On the other hand, the average annual cost of studying in a public university is $27,330. So, considering a public college or university can reduce overall student debt.
Aim for a Good GPA
If you are in high school, you must make efforts to perform well in exams and receive good grades. Your grades can influence your educational career, allowing you to leverage more scholarships, financial aid, and other grants.
Students with excellent grades receive more scholarships, allowing them to reduce the loans they require for education. While there are no set criteria for a minimum GPA to help you qualify for a scholarship, we recommend aiming for 3.0 or 3.5. Remember, each scholarship has a specific requirement.
Apply for Scholarships & Grants
We recommend applying for scholarships and grants if you want to avoid student loan debt. The purpose is to reduce your financial dependence on loans and streamline your education.
While you can find different ways to get a scholarship, we recommend applying directly through the educational institution’s website. Besides, you can find third-party platforms, such as Bold.org, GoingMerry, and FastWeb, to find scholarships based on your requirements/needs.
Pay Tuition Fees in Installments
In addition to leveraging scholarships and grants, you can also focus on the college payment plan. For example, some schools allow students to pay a portion of the tuition fees in installments.
You can pay at least two or four installments, depending on the educational institution’s policy. However, you must ensure that you can pay the college fees. You can leverage this opportunity and optimize your academic journey if you save money.