Steps to Minimize Student Loan Debt - South Arkansas Sun

The majority of students from the class of 2020 borrowed money to pay for college, according to U.S. News data: 64% of graduates took out student loans, with an average total student loan debt of nearly $30,000.

Enroll at a community college. Where students choose to attend college can make a big difference. Attending a community college can give students time to work, save up money, earn credits and ultimately transfer to a four-year college to earn a degree for less.

Consider attending a no-loan school. Schools may have unique policies around financial aid and student loans. Some colleges offer students who have household incomes under a certain threshold free tuition.

Estimate college costs. Whether a student attends a community college or a four-year college, tuition is only the tip of the iceberg for expenses. Students should also factor in books, housing, meals and transportation.

Maximize other funding sources. Once students calculate their total costs, they can figure out how to cover their expenses. Grants, scholarships and college savings plans should be used before student loans come into play, experts say.

Start a side hustle or get a part-time job. To offset costs and minimize borrowing, every cent put toward paying for college helps. Some students and recent graduates have taken to platforms like YouTube and TikTok to earn an income that can be put toward college tuition or, down the road, pay off student loans.

Limit living expenses. Colleges set tuition and fees, so it should be easy to budget for those costs. Housing, meals and entertainment expenses are another story.

Borrow only the amount needed. Student loans aren't free money. The more you borrow, the longer it will take to pay off your debt. Before signing on the dotted line, consider declining any excess loans.

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