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How to Avoid Student Loan Debt

avoid-student-loan-debtIt’s pretty well known by now that student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt in the US. The total amount of student loan debt in the US as of 2014 is $1.2 trillion… a number that has tripled in the last decade. Student loans are the second highest source of consumer debt, trailing only mortgages. The cost of education keeps on rising, and managing this amount of debt can prove to be a struggle. It seems like a necessary expense for those who want to get a good job and earn a good living, but there are ways to achieve your goals without incurring as much debt.

College Alternatives

Many people opt for a trade school or apprenticeship in a certain industry. This requires some clarity on your part, knowing exactly what career you want to work towards. College gives you options with different majors to explore, whereas learning a trade may have limited applications. On the plus side, trade school is usually less expensive, and in-demand skills can earn you a very comfortable living.

Inexpensive Colleges

You have a few options when it comes to college. A private school with an excellent reputation will have a higher tuition cost, but may carry more weight on your resume. A state school with less cred will cost you less, but won’t stand out on a resume. If you choose the latter, you’ll need to go above and beyond to prove that you got just as much out of your education. This means a high GPA, extra-curricular activities and clubs, and maybe even an internship or two before you graduate.

Transfer College Credits

Another strategy to minimize your student debt is to start off at a less expensive school, like a community college. You can rack up credits at a low cost, then transfer to a more reputable school when you’re closer to your degree. Be sure to research what credits are transferable to what schools ahead of time.

College Scholarships

Get as many scholarships as you can. This is free money! Here are some resources to help you find scholarships.

Getting a college education is great. Getting a college education with the least amount of debt possible is even better. Go forth and learn!

Are you struggling with credit card debt? Call American Consumer Credit Counseling to speak with a certified counselor for free. 800-769-3571.

ABOUT AUTHOR / Andi

Andi is a Marketing Assistant at ACCC. He is passionate about supporting financial literacy efforts and helping to educate people on the Talking Cents blog!

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