How Future College Students can Deal with Debt: 5 Methods

How Future College Students can Deal with Debt: 5 Methods
  • Opening Intro -

    According to, the average 2016 graduate had about $37,000 in student loan debt.

    This may seem disheartening, but there are efficient, intelligent methods students can use to minimize or avoid college debt.


Any college graduate will agree that getting a good education is expensive. College isn’t cheap, and debt can be an intimidating factor for students deciding if and where to attend college.

According to, the average 2016 graduate had about $37,000 in student loan debt. This may seem disheartening, but there are efficient, intelligent methods students can use to minimize or avoid college debt.

1. Think about community college

Community college may be an unfashionable choice for students looking for a classic college experience, but it can be an excellent option to help reduce debt. Community colleges charge thousands of dollars less than larger institutions, and many of them offer scholarships and financial aid to students who performed well in high school.

Because community colleges offer flexibility in class scheduling, many students can work part time to financially support themselves while they get an education.

Also, community college doesn’t have to be forever. Most community colleges have credits that will transfer to larger institutions, so students can spend a few years paying less at a community college and then easily transfer to a larger institution.

2. Consider attending a school close to home

Most colleges offer cheaper in-state tuition to state residents. This is typically thousands of dollars cheaper than out of state tuition.

It is possible for out of state residents to establish in-state status after living in-state for a semester or year as well.

Attending a school close to home means that students have the opportunity to commute. Room and board, as well as food and meal expenses, often cost more than tuition itself. Living and eating at home can save students thousands of dollars.

3. Apply for financial aid and scholarships

This seems like a no-brainer, but students don’t always take advantage of these resources.

First, fill out the FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The form may be confusing and complicated, but it’s worth it if you receive money towards your education.

Next, apply for all the scholarships you can. Some scholarships have very few applicants, and some have thousands, but you can’t benefit from them if you don’t apply.

Spend time writing scholarship essays and do your best work, because getting a scholarship can mean saving hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Check with your workplace to see if they offer scholarships. Some chain restaurants, like McDonald’s, Chipotle, and Starbucks offer student scholarships or financial aid for college students.

Are you looking to find more scholarships? This link to the official Federal Student Aid website can help you figure out where to find them:

4. Think about working as an RA

An RA, or Residence Assistant, has the job of supervising students living in college dormitories or living spaces. This may not sound like a glamorous job, but Residence Assistants often get excellent perks. Many schools don’t charge their RAs room and board, or offer large discounts on room and board, so these students only have to worry about tuition expenses.

Typically, students cannot apply to be Residence Assistants until they have attended the college for a year, but some schools have different policies regarding their RA programs.

5. Make a budget

Once you’ve officially decided which school you plan on attending, make a detailed budget. Going year by year, map out the expenses you’ll have to pay. Include tuition, room and board, meal and dining costs, textbook costs, and whatever else you can think of. Factor in any scholarships or financial aid you have, and add up how much college is going to cost you.

If the cost is way too high, consider looking at other schools. If it seems about right, take some time to figure out how much money you can afford to spend on entertainment and fun.

There’s no doubt about it. College is expensive. But prospective students can play it smart to avoid and minimize their debt. Take some time to consider how much you can afford, and dealing with college debt can become a lot easier.

Do you have friends or family members thinking about attending college? Share this article on Facebook or other social media sites to fill them in on these great college tips!

Consumer Tips reference:

aid checklist for students

SaleBestseller No. 1
SaleBestseller No. 3
LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt-Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward
  • Jeannie Burlowski
  • Publisher: Falcon Heights Publishing LLC
  • Edition no. 1 (12/30/2016)

Last update on 2019-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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