Student loan debt is an epidemic. According to the institute for college access and success, 65% of college seniors who graduated from public and
private nonprofit colleges in 2018 had student loan debt and owed an average of $29,200.
Too much debt at college graduation can be a huge burden, taking years to pay back, and making it difficult for graduates to buy a home or a car. This doesn’t have to be you! I met with financial advisor Lauren Pearson, who offers some tips on avoiding student loan debt.
Go to the college that’s willing to pay you the most to go there. You’ll be offered more money and have a better experience at a school that is excited for you to be there. Grants and scholarships are money you don’t have to pay back!
If you have to have it, try to take out as little as possible. Try to find the college that will be the most affordable, while still meeting your educational needs. If this means taking out loans, be very careful and take out only what you need.
Do not use the loans to fund your college lifestyle! You want it to just fund your education. Don’t use it on lattes or clothes. If you want those things, get a job!
Have to have it? Choose the cheapest option in college. Don’t spring for the most expensive housing on campus. Try to get used books instead of brand new ones. You will thank yourself later on, especially if debt is paying for it.
Be mindful of your spending in college. You’ll learn good financial habits that will help you the rest of your life, especially if you’re paying back loans later on. A cushion is based on debt is not really a cushion at all.
Don’t get a credit card in college. Playing around with debt is a big risk. Saving up an emergency fund will help you avoid the need to go into debt if a problem comes up, like your car breaks down.