These days, young people face more pressure than ever to obtain a college education. However, that education has also become dramatically more expensive than it was a couple of decades ago. The average college student carries a considerable debt by the time they graduate, but plenty of them will owe far more than that. Coupled with dire unemployment situations in many nations across the world, it is more important than ever that students be able to finish school with a clean slate. Here are some ways to get through college debt-free.
1. Government Funding
Government funds for school can cover a good portion of your tuition. If you qualify, you can get as much as $5,500 to use toward school. In some cases, like if you’re attending a community college for an associate’s degree, this grant could cover the entire cost of your education. Most nations offer considerable federal subsidies for education.
2. Eat Cheaply
While fast food and beer might make appealing dietary choices, they’ll cause you to run out of money quickly. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to live on instant noodles and peanut butter and jelly. If you can find the time to cook for yourself, creating simple meals from scratch is not only healthier but also saves you a ton on your food budget.
3. Shop Wisely
Where you shop also matters. International grocers, warehouse stores and discount chains will usually give you the most for your money. Also, look for a discount bin at your local grocery store as you can often find great prices on everything from canned goods to household supplies.
4. Find Employment
Having a job while you’re in school, while not always easy, will go a long way toward keeping you out of debt. Some colleges have programs that will provide you with a part time job at the school, which is very convenient, especially if you live on-campus. It is important to note that if you have a full-time job, you will not be eligible for federal grants.
5. Attend a Local School
Most colleges charge foreign or out-of-state students several times more for tuition than local students. If your prospective college, such as Indiana Wesleyan, is located in a state that you don’t reside in, it may cost you less to move there rather than staying where you are and attending as an out-of-state student.
6. Take Summer Classes
Many students understandably want to take the summer off from school, but attending summer classes will often mean that you’ll get to graduate a semester or two early. Finishing early means you could save thousands of dollars on things like rent, food, books, supplies and transportation.
7. Reduce Partying
A lot of people believe that college is a time to let loose and party until they drop, but this can be detrimental not only to their success but also their debt. Party staples like booze and snacks can eat through your bank account with startling speed. Furthermore, it’s hard to get much studying done when you’re drunk, hung over or withdrawing from alcohol.
School is expensive, but that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless to come out of it financially intact. As long as you’re smart about your spending and take advantage of every opportunity to save money, you should have little problem finishing school without debt.