So you’ve just finished taking all those tough classes and now you’re ready to graduate. Congratulations! Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to just roll out of school and into the job market. Today’s graduates will walk out their door with tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt, and a lot of employers may only require a degree to be hired. These are actually good reasons to start thinking about how to pay back your student loans as soon as possible.

The federal government says that in 2013, almost half of new graduates had student loan debt. The average burden was $27,400. And as we all know, a diploma does not magically erase that debt. So what’s the secret to graduating debt-free?

Once you graduate from college, you’re officially free from the daily grind and ready to start a new life. But what about your student loans? While you can’t just walk away from your $100,000 in student loans, you can do a lot to mitigate them. As a college grad, you may be able to legally discharge your student loans in bankruptcy. But if you’re not sure, know that there are things you can do to prevent this from happening.

Whether it came from a parent or a well-meaning teacher, everyone was advised to get a higher education if they wanted to find a successful job. However, the process is not easy and many people take out large student loans to cover the high cost of education. Student loans are often called good debt because students use the money to get a degree and find a good paying job to pay off the debt. But getting a degree without debt is possible. Defending the odds: 5 tips for debt-free studies word-image-16469 Although many career paths require a diploma, school counselors and parents often forget to mention that the career path chosen should not lead to insurmountable debt. Unfortunately, exorbitant student loans have become commonplace as more and more students fall victim to high interest and repayment rates. While college can prepare you for your future career and provide you with a range of academic experiences, you should familiarize yourself with the costs associated with your degree and your future income potential. Many students rush off to college without taking the time to evaluate the cost of their education in relation to their future careers, leaving them deeply in debt. When people have trouble paying back their student loans, their credit rating often goes down, as does their chance of buying a house or a car. Moreover, those who are lax in repaying their student loans risk having their wages garnished and taxes withheld. If you’re about to go to college, look for ways to reduce your debt and save yourself the stress and financial burden in the future.

Search for scholarships

Scholarships are one of the main ways to save on college costs because they do not have to be repaid. However, searching for scholarships takes a lot of time and effort because you have to sift out the applications that aren’t worth your time, as opposed to the opportunities that can make you money. To shorten your time and increase your chances of success, start looking for scholarships, apply early and check with the school you are attending to see what scholarships they offer. word-image-16470

Application for grants

When you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), don’t forget to apply for generous scholarships. Scholarships are available based on financial need and provide access to non-repayable funds to help you complete your education without taking out loans.

Enrolling in a dual study program while attending school

Most high schools offer dual credit courses through local community colleges that allow students to take high school courses and earn college credit. Dual enrollment courses challenge you without the high cost of university courses, and allow you to get a degree before you even step foot on campus.

Enlistment in military service

The federal government and non-profit organizations offer funding opportunities for military personnel and veterans. Those who qualify receive a scholarship and, in some cases, a full buyout by the university is required.

Find schools with lower tuition fees

One of the easiest ways to reduce student debt is to go to an institution with lower tuition. Although prices vary from institution to institution, state universities are generally the cheapest, while private universities are more expensive. If you don’t qualify for other cost-saving measures, attending public school is one of the best ways to lower your education costs.

Total

Starting college is full of excitement and anxiety as you navigate a whole new world. Without proper planning and preparation, you could end up with an overwhelming course load and a lot of debt. But with financial aid and schools with lower tuition fees, you can leave with a degree in your pocket without paying for years. (Photo: COD Newsroom)College graduates are still paying off their student loans, but no longer need to dig deep into their savings accounts to do it. This is thanks to changes to federal student loan repayment programs that make it easier to get rid of debt. The basic idea is that after you graduate, the government will forgive your loans over a period of up to 20 or 25 years, depending on the loan you took out. While this is great news, it also means you have to plan ahead to make sure you understand your repayment options.. Read more about how to go to college debt-free book and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I graduate college debt free?

According to a recent report, the average Class of 2016 student graduates with $37,172 in student loan debt. With interest rates at the highest they’ve ever been, many new graduates are stuck paying off their student loans—making it difficult to save money for a down payment on a home, planning for retirement, or starting a family. Graduating college can be scary. It’s not just about getting your degree, but also about taking on the added responsibilities of student loans. When you aren’t sure where to turn, here are five tips to help you graduate debt-free.

What are the 6 steps of going to school debt free?

Every student is graduating college deeper in debt than they may have expected. Taking on more than you can handle can seem scary, but starting off debt-free is possible. All it takes is the right strategy. The 5 Tips: 1. Start small. Do not go into school debt unless you have already paid off your credit card debt. 2. Live below your means. It is not a good idea to take more money than you can afford to pay back. 3. Understand that your debt will take a long time to pay off. It will not be able to be paid off in a year or two. 4. Stick to a budget. Long term, you will have to live within your means. 5. Find a way to make If you’re like most people, you’ve probably been told that you’ll need to get a job right after college to pay off your student loans. But the truth is, you can get a job in college without paying off your debt.  Here are the 6 steps: 1. Look for a part-time job. 2. Squeeze into a smaller place. 3. Live in a cheap dorm. 4. Don’t splurge on luxuries. 5. Eat cheap. 6. Get a part-time job.

How important is it to graduate debt free?

Graduating college debt-free is a goal many of us have, but there are many factors that go into this decision. If you want to graduate debt-free, here are 5 steps to getting there. The U.S. has the highest college debt in the industrialized world, with over 50% of graduates starting their careers with student loan debt. The average student graduates with over $25,000 in student loans. That number is going to increase dramatically over the next decade. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

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