You can get through college without
debt if you plan it right
By Bronden Jessup
March 26, 2008 | Attending college is not cheap, but
taking out loans and getting into debt is like paying
twice for your education. Lenders are everywhere willing
to lend you money because they plan on you repaying
the money you borrowed plus interest.
This May I will graduate from Utah State University
with a degree, a wife, and a debt-free budget -- three
things I didn't have before attending school.
According to an article in MSN Money by Liz
Pulliam Weston, the average debt of a graduating college
senior is $20,000. Many students believe once they begin
their career and make "the big bucks" they will easily
be able to repay their loans. The problem with this
mindset is the average beginning salary for a graduated
college student is only $30,000.
A few simple suggestions to be debt free at graduation:
Unless you have someone else paying for college, you
will have to work to pay for school eventually. Work
full or at least part time while attending school. I
work full time and attend school. I feel I am a better
student then I would be if I didn't work. When I have
homework to do I know I must concentrate and get it
done before I go to work. If I didn't work I would be
going to sporting events or watching television, not
Apply for scholarships, grants, or subsidized loans
to help pay for school. Scholarships and grants are
"free" money and do not have to be repaid.
If you are married, especially if you have kids, and
work, most will qualify for some financial assistance.
If you take out a loan to pay for college, make sure
it is a subsidized loan. The interest on subsidized
loans begins to accrue six to nine month after you graduate
or stop attending school. Avoid unsubsidized loans because
they accrue interest from the time of disbursement.
To apply for financial aid visit www.FASFA.com.
Find affordable housing, make sure it is somewhere
you can afford to live and that the location is somewhere
you will enjoy. My wife and I found affordable rent
with all utilities included off campus. This requires
us to spend a little more money on gas, but we enjoy
not having as many close neighbors.
Buy an affordable and efficient car. With gas price
nearing $4 a gallon, a car that gets 30 mpg saves you
money. If you can't pay off the car, make as big as
down payment as you can and pay any extra money you
can towards your car loan, the quicker you pay it off
the less you will pay in interest.
Ride the bus. If you live near a bus stop riding the
bus will save you money. Riding the Aggie Shuttle, which
all students are required to pay student fees for, will
save you money on a parking pass. You can also ride
free on the Cache Valley Transit District buses.
I am excited to graduate this May, and even more excited
to know when I begin my career I won't be making monthly
payment on my past, but can spend my money for things
of the future like our own house or a new car.