How To Avoid Taking Out Student Loans

A college education is a valuable thing when it’s put to work in the marketplace. The problem is, many students graduate from school with student loans and aren’t sure how they could have avoided them in the first place. Graduating debt-free is possible, but you’re going to have to rethink everything in order to make it work. Here’s how to avoid student loans in a nutshell.

Get Paid To Go To College

That’s right! You can get paid to go to college. There are many grants and scholarships available out there for you to get your hands on! Try Scholarships.com. There is a lot of free money out there that has your name on it. We’ve all heard amazing stories of students paying their way through college on scholarships. Why can’t you do the same?

Make sure to raise your chances when it comes to scholarships by applying early and often. You want to ensure that you have the money to go to college before you actually sign up!

Many employers will offer to pay for a portion of your college education if you ask them. You might be surprised at how many businesses encourage their employees to attend school! By sending you to college, the business is building value in their employees – bringing them more profit!

Work First, School Later!

Too many people think that they have to go to school first before they can land a job. Who says? Why not work first to pay for school later? Sure, you might not make much income at first, but at least you’ll avoid interest payments!

At the very least, you need to find a way to work through school and pay as you go. That might mean a part-time job. That might mean taking a break from school until you can pay for another term.

Get Pre-Reqs Cheap

Many universities require general education classes before you can take courses that focus on your major. Instead of attending a high-cost university for these pre-reqs, shop your community colleges! Many times, you can take the same courses for half the price and still meet all the requirements for your program.

Make sure you pay cash as you go. Sit down and figure out all your expenses, even before starting your pre-reqs. You’ll want to have a good buffer of money to get you through school. Think of it as your “academic emergency fund!”

Strive For Excellence, Save More Money!

Good grades will help you get more scholarships. Sometimes your employer will pay you more to go to college if you have better grades. Typically, the top 10% of the class gets the better deals.

Wait A Minute, Why Avoid Student Loans In The First Place?

I’m convinced that spending other people’s money frees us to spend more money than we deem reasonable. Taking student loans is no different. I’ve personally met with many people who are bogged down by student loans and aren’t sure how they are going to pay their bills once their loans come due. Taking college slow, avoiding debt, and paying as you go teaches responsibility and encourages you to consider the true value of money.

If you have children, it is important to save now for their education. There are many ways to save for your child’s education. This will make it much easier for your kids to get started on the right path. Tuition inflation is high, so this might be a necessity for the future.

You Can Do It. Many Have Before You!

I have confidence that if you are dedicated enough, you can pay your way through school and land a good paying job. Just imagine! You will have graduated with no debt and be stress-free as you seek after your career. What a blessing!

Anyone out there paying their way through college? Have any tricks and tips?

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4 Comments
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  1. Good article John.

    I actually went back to college later in life to get my B.A. in Journalism. It has its pros and cons. On the pros side, I was more mature and appreciated it more (and got more out of college). On the cons side, it was tough running a business, a family and going to school full time. If you’re going later in life, full time is most likely not going to be a good option. I sucked it up because I wanted to get through it all. I wasn’t getting any younger. :)

    I also did what you said with the basic reqs. I went to our community college for a little bit and cranked out many of the basics that really didn’t matter to me. It’s easy to pay for these or get grants. I wish I would have stayed another 2 semesters and wiped through all the pre-reqs.

    Depending on your college and the costs, student loans might be a must as scholarships are unlikely to pay 100% of the bill at most universities (unless you’re on a special scholarship, like sports). However, doing all you can will mean a very small, manageable bill when you’re done.

  2. alan R. Whitt

    Totally agree. My youngest son,who just graduated (Cum Lada) was blessed to get a full ride @ UCLA thru an essay contest on the arts.
    When he was first accepted I panicked,his life long dream to be a Bruin and I was unprepared. Looked like I was gonna work 3 jobs!
    He was given the Opportunity and he shined. I’m so proud of him!

  3. John, I agree it definitely takes a change in mindset or thinking to got to college without loans. I particularly like the idea of taking prerequisites at a community college. Another option for some (not all) is to go into the military. I hope to be able to contribute to sending my kids to school one day without student loans so they can start their next stage of life without having to be limited by this type of debt.

  4. Wish I had read this 15 years ago! I took a year off after high school to work but didn’t really save anything for college. Because I took that year off I lost out on all those immediately post-high school scholarships. I went to all private schools. And I financed my education 100% with student loans. The only good thing I did and can highly recommend is attending college in high school on my state’s dime (they even paid for books!). By the time I graduated high school I had almost a year of college finished.

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