Being shackled with student loan debt after graduating from college creates financial turmoil for a person just entering the workforce and, of course, being debt-free after college is a wonderful way to increase income and rise in one's career.
Many students might think it’s difficult to make it through college without student loans or affordable ones, at least. But here are five ways to graduate from college debt-free:
1. Savings — Taylor Fante, who will soon graduate debt-free from Ohio State University, tells CNN Money that her parents opened tax-deductible 529 savings accounts for their four children. Her $22,000 share from the accounts put her through her freshman year. Working on weekends also helped out. She says her father started by putting about 5 percent of his income each month into savings and eventually worked up to about 20 percent. He added more whenever he got a raise.
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2. Scholarships — Keep an eye out for gift aid, or money that doesn't have to be paid back, advises Bart Astor, author of "Graduate From College Debt-Free." These can come in the form of institutional or state grants and scholarships, Federal Pell Grants, private foundation scholarships, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, among others. Planning early and having a strategy while in high school can help students stand out enough to apply for these scholarships.
3. Financial awards — Get information from colleges and universities through their financial aid pages to check on grants and work study opportunities along with scholarships, advises Joshua Jackson, who completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees without accruing student loan debt. Students can also find a college’s financial aid information on the CollegeData website. Jackson writes in Best College Reviews that using social media can also help to connect with financial planners, friends with advice, and student loan experts.
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4. Work — Working your way through college not only brings in much-needed income, but it also provides valuable skills employers want after graduation, reports Robert Farrington in Forbes. Students who work during college are better prepared for the challenges of the workplace and some might even develop skills to start their own companies or learn about entrepreneurship.
5. Start higher education early — Taking classes in high school to get ahead in college can help in graduating debt-free, Farrington notes. Certain high school classes qualify for college credits. It could reduce a student’s time in college. They can graduate in three years instead of four, which aids in avoiding student loan debt.
Special: How to Graduate From College Without Debt
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