How to Not Fret About College Debt
A How-To for Broke College Students!
Ahhh, the fresh air of freedom... You step onto college ground for the first day, living away from home, and independence fills your body! Suddenly you halt in your tracks and realize that first step is costing you about $14,000 (assuming the average amount per semester at most universities). You can't afford that; no one can afford that! You think about all the things you could be spending $14,000 on every seven to eight months... A brand new car every 8 months? A large house payment? Just about anything other than suffering in a classroom!
How are you going to do good in school while also not drowning in debt?
First of all, in order to be in the mindset of earning a degree debt-free, you have to start looking at your debt differently. The money you're paying the college should be looked at as an investment for profit—assuming that you're going to be making enough to break-even on debt, and your income becomes solely profit. If you're going to school with no idea of what you want to do with it, essentially you're making a bad investment. If you were buying into the stock market, it would be a bad idea to blindly put all of your life savings into shares of a company you know nothing about. This goes with your life as well... You invest in yourself so invest smart! Now, if this is you in college with no idea why, don't stop reading just yet! You're not doomed, we've only reached the tip of the iceberg!
Once you're in the right mindset about your debt, it is much easier to have a clear mind to create a plan! There are many ways to accumulate some cash to throw onto your tuition costs, leaving you less, or no debt when leaving college!
One way to easily throw an extra $3,000 into your tuition is to use the tax write-off money that your parent most likely received for having a dependent in school! This is not a lot, but it's more than a little!
After chiseling away that $3,000, we're still left with a whopping $11,000!
Another great way to accumulate money is the search for grants! Grants are like loans, the money you receive on the basis of help, except YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY THEM BACK! A common grant that many college students get is the Pell grant!
The Pell Grant is given to students on a need-based scale... The more you need help with, the more they give! This is what filling out that tedious FAFSA every semester is for! The max that a Pell Grant will cap at is around $3,040! Again, not a lot, but we are chiseling our way down to the fun stuff.
Now we've scraped our way down to around $8,000 using two ways—two things you can do to pay off $6,000 on your tuition already! Still a lot, but we're down a digit!
When applying for college, the price you see is called the "ticket price," which is their estimated amount per student! The keyword here: estimation! YOU ARE ALLOWED TO GO TO YOUR FINANCIAL AID OFFICE AND ASK FOR MONEY! I repeat you can ask your financial aid office for money! I strongly encourage students to make an appointment to talk about your financial needs and request help. Typically schools commonly have a minimum of a semesterly $2,000 need-based grant! This means the school will supply you with a grant (doesn't need to be paid back) of $2,000 a semester, and that is typically a minimum!
We're starting to slide down the mountain, cutting our way down to $6,000 left!
Colleges typically have work-study jobs. This means the money that you make working on campus goes directly to your tuition. This is my least favorite method to talk about because essentially work-study could be working anywhere and just putting that money aside for tuition! But this is another method for cutting away tuition costs, and typically can lower tuition by $2,500, which leaves us with a total of $3,500!
There are many creative ways to get rid of this $3,500 left! One of my favorite ways is applying and competing for private scholarships! There are MILLIONS of things online willing to give you money! One website is Chegg! Chegg offers a lot of competitions held all year to win money for tuition!
Many of these scholarships are writing competitions, poems, essays, and more. Many scholarships do not ask for your GPA on this website.
You could also look for competitions on Youtube! Many YouTubers will hold annual competitions to gain follower. Use this to your advantage! For example, Christian Guzman, a fitness enthusiast holds a summer shredding contest every year, awarding five to ten people up to $20,000! Look at these competitions as "fun grants!" They're not directly for school, but if you win it, invest it in yourself!
Debt is not the end of the world as long as you budget correctly and invest in yourself right! If you have to take out a loan or several, that is okay also! Instead of paying it now, there are special ways you can save to pay it off later, which I will talk about in another article about smart saving!
College debt is not something to beat yourself up about, as long as you're investing in yourself correctly! A good investment always has a solid outcome, so invest in yourself, and invest smart.... This brings me to investing. Stay tuned for my next article about how you can make a million dollars by simply saving smart!