Avoiding Student Debt

As of 2018 stats, “Americans owe over $1.48 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 44 million borrowers.”

The looming, dark cloud over higher education in the U.S. is, of course, student debt which is why we are focusing on this World Future Forum topic during the spooky month of October. In this blog post, we will present some tips on how your students can avoid student debt even before starting their higher education. Conversely, this means trying to spend the least amount of money possible.

To help your students, you should help them understand that they need to:

  1. Excel in high school: This means your students should try their hardest to get the best grades in their everyday courses as well as their college entrance exams, SAT/ACT. The higher their grades, the more likely a school will want them and offer money. If their grades are not the best, they should look into getting tutored by another student or teacher. Tutoring is a great way for you to go the extra mile and really help your student avoid debt in the future. Another important fact, is that universities want well-rounded students. It looks great when a student is involved in clubs and activities that show they are committed and can work well with others. Skills developed during extracurricular activities, such as sports and academic skills, can also yield to scholarships. It is crucial your students understand high school as an opportunity for their future.
  2. Enroll in free college courses: Many times, students do not realize that by “saving the hassle” and not taking advanced courses in high school, they are missing out on a great opportunity.  Advanced Placement, dual enrollment and summer courses provided by universities and high schools are the perfect way to save money. Students are able to take courses that will be required in college for free! Another suggestion you can give students that already know what they want to study, is to look into programs in their desired majors at local universities that also offer college credit.
  3. Focus on in-state schools: Are your students aware that the yearly tuition for a four-year out-of-state public school is around $25,600 and approximately $34,700 for a private school while an in-state public school is about $9,500? That is a big difference. While moving to a completely different state or traveling cross-country can be tempting for your students, it is important to persuade them to reconsider. They might be underestimating the amount of student debt they can potentially get themselves into. If they make time to compare school costs and quality of education, they will more than likely realize that in-state schools are more convenient.
  4. Consider different living situations: Another positive aspect about attending an in-state school is that students might be able to live at home and save money on rent. Let’s be honest, the first reason many students want to go to an out-of-state school is to become independent of their parents; however, they do not realize that living in dorms is not always the cheapest option. Living in a dorm can easily add $11,000 to a yearly tuition. If living at home is not possible and dorms are too expensive, you should ask your students to consider renting an apartment with a couple of friends. Usually, living off-campus is cheaper and investing in a bike can save your students from time consuming walks or spending money on vehicle expenses.
  5. Contemplate working part time: Usually, students are not thinking about working during their higher education either because they want to focus on school or they do not want to worry about a job until after their college graduation. However, working, at least, a part-time job while going to school can pay for some of their schooling so they do not have student debt or at least helps minimize any debt. A bonus to having a job while attending a university, is that it look great on resumes when they start applying for “real” jobs. It shows students are responsible and have good time management skills.
  6. Try to steer clear of private loans: As opposed to federal student loans, private student loans do not have a limit on how much students can borrow each year. Private loans are a slippery slope, and it can be very easy for students to go in over their head and end up in massive student debt. Additionally, private student loans have higher interest rates and do not offer accommodation repayment plans for students who struggle to keep up with their payments.

Join us at World Future Forum for more research findings and best practices on student debt!