You may be in the group of people who didn’t have a college fund set up nor did you have the opportunity to put away a sufficient amount of money for college. It’s not impossible save and to keep your debt at a minimum. However, this takes a lot of discipline and will most likely affect your monthly budget.
I, personally, take the stance that student loans should be a last resort. There is no need to go into unnecessary debt. Explore your options before taking out student loans. The first place to start is by filing for financial aid. To be eligible at any school for financial aid, you will need to complete this application. Give yourself enough time to research all of your options. You don’t want to hastily sign for a loan that you don’t need because you didn’t take the time to look into scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities. Talk to your Human Resource director to see if your employer will pay or reimburse your school expenses. Some loans can be forgiven depending on the type of degree and if you work in a certain location and for a certain amount of time.
Along with researching all of your options, budgeting is the key. The words “cutting back” are never fun to hear, but you have to look towards the future and envision the outcome. For those of you who are able to live on campus or with your parents– do it! Despite what you think, living on campus is cheaper than living on your own. Living with your parents is phenomenally cheaper than both. Take it from someone who has been there and done that. I moved off campus when I was 20 and I was constantly worrying about budgeting for meals, rent, gas, utilities, supplies and general upkeep on my apartment. I worked a part time job in the evenings after class and could barely make my rent payment.
I would encourage anyone venturing into such a large financial commitment to chat with a financial advisor to find out several ways to help you find a clear financial path.
A great resource, and free for Truliant members, is Truliant’s financial advisors. They can help and give you the tools and the knowledge necessary to help you pay back those student loans and/or help you with a savings and spending plan geared around college expenses.