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Is it really possible to go to college debt-free?
When I went to college I never even imagined being able to pay for it myself. I thought that was something only “rich” people did.
I feel that this is the way a lot of people think.
You never even really consider whether the degree is worth the price tag or think about how you will pay it back later.
You think you’ll be able to pay it off after you graduate and get a job right?
But guess what?
According to a recent study by the National Student Clearinghouse, around 23 percent of college students drop out by their fourth year in college.
Of those who did graduate, they averaged about $29,200 in student loan debt for a bachelor’s degree.
Imagine trying to start your life already deep in debt?
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way and you can actually go to college debt-free with some work upfront and through your college years.
How to Go to College Debt-Free
Apply for a Ton of Scholarships (DON’T SKIP THIS!)
Yes, scholarships work and no you don’t have to be a top student or athlete to get them!
This is by far the best way and likely the easiest way to get money for college. Now I say easy because applying for scholarships can be your best return on investment.
Think about it………
Even if you spend 40 hours looking and applying for scholarships, wouldn’t it be worth it to get thousands of dollars in return? Possibly tens of thousands of dollars?
What job would pay you that for a week’s worth of work?
I had no clue about scholarships when I was in high school but thanks to my guidance counselor who had me apply for a bunch I was able to secure a few of them. If I could go back in time, I would definitely apply for as many as humanly possible.
I didn’t have a 4.0 and I had zero extracurricular activities so if I can get them, you can too.
Plus, did you know that whatever money isn’t used during the semester is often sent to you directly to be used on other college expenses such as books, food, and pretty much anything?
There are cases of people who actually earned more than enough scholarships to cover tuition and get extra money on top of it to spend while in college how they want.
If you or your child is overwhelmed at the thought of looking for and applying for scholarships, consider hiring help!
Yes, you pay some money but you can save THOUSANDS!
Again it’s a great return on investment. One training program I like to recommend is The Scholarship System.
The Scholarship System is run by Jocelyn Paonita who I interviewed on the blog back in 2018. You can check out that interview here.
Start Taking College Courses in High School
By taking college classes in high school, you can save time and money. When you earn college credit, you won’t have to take as many courses when you’re actually in college.
College classes for high school students are offered a few different ways. Students can take them on-site at their high school, go to a college campus, or take them online.
Talk to your guidance counselor. Your high school guidance counselor can give you information about dual enrollment, advanced placement, help you choose courses, and provide support when making decisions.
Start at a Community College
College choice is a huge factor in cost. Consider starting at your local community college and transferring to your dream school later.
Community college is great for getting all of your pre-requisites out of the way and it costs a whole lot less!
Plus you may decide on a different major halfway through so why waste money? I changed my major three times in college!
You May Also Like:
- How to Save Money in College
- College Dorm Room Essentials on a Budget
- How do Scholarships Work? 5 Things You Need to Know!
Work Through College
Yes, you can actually work and go to school (craziness right!). I don’t know why I feel like a lot of people think there’s no time for studying and working while in college. But with the number of flexible jobs out there its easier now than ever before.
I worked in my campus cafeteria for minimum wage while I was in college because I had no car and lived on campus.
You can find part-time work almost anywhere or work full-time seasonal jobs while on breaks.
FILL OUT THE FAFSA!
Make sure you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form before each year of college.
Your college uses your FAFSA data to determine your federal aid eligibility. Many states and colleges use FAFSA data to award their own aid.
After submission, you’ll receive a student aid report. Your aid report will explain the types and amounts of aid a college is offering you, and your expected costs for the year.
You will be able to see which grants and aid each school is offering and subtract that amount from your cost of attendance at that school.
Whatever is left over is what you would have to cover yourself with either scholarships or work.
Accept the aid from the school that’s best for you and inform them of other sources of aid (such as scholarships) you expect to receive. Your financial aid office will apply your aid to the amount you owe your school and send you the remaining balance to spend on other college costs.
And don’t forget to complete a FAFSA form each and every year!
Need more help and motivation to go to college debt-free? Check out Anthony ONeal’s book Debt Free Degree.
Did this post help you? What was your favorite tip? Leave any questions or comments below and don’t forget to share this post on your favorite social media channel and PIN IT for later!