How to Pay Off Student Loans Fast: Whether you’re preparing to go off to college, or you have kids that are about to attend one, student loans can be a significant debt to carry on the road into adulthood. A staggering 70% of graduates leave school with around $37,000 of debt per person, which equates to 44 million people who combined carry over $1.5 TRILLION dollars of debt.
It’s a truly unbearable burden for young people and their families to struggle through, but what if there was a way to avoid being one of those poor people stuck in the pitfall of student debt? The good news is that there are strategies you can take to avoid being dragged down by student loans for a large portion of your adult life, and instead begin your life and career debt free. So how is it done? Well its quite simply a combination of hard work and frugality, and here is how you can do it in a few simple steps.
Live at Home
As over 80% of Americans live in urban areas, it means that a lot of people live in close proximity to a college, which makes living at home while studying a real possibility. Not only will you save money on rent, bills, and food, you will also avoid a lot of the excessive spending that comes with constant socializing in a shared dorm.
After tuition fees, room and board accounts for over 25% of annual college costs, so when it comes to living at home whilst studying, massive savings can be made. You may think you are missing out on the opportunity to live on your own, but there will be the rest of your life to do that once you graduate, and unlike your peers; you won’t be weighed down with debt which means you could be living in a penthouse whilst you kick off your career!
How to Pay Off Student Loans: Go to Community College
A lot of community colleges offer students the opportunity to study the first couple of years of a course in their institution, then transfer to a larger university for your final year. These transfer programs guarantee you a place at a university after passing the first two years, check with the registrar of the school you’re hoping to attend after to be sure that your credits will transfer.
Another benefit is that community college class numbers are much smaller, which means more direct teaching time. However, the real benefit is the cost difference, with a reduction of over 90% for the same course in community college instead of in a university. For example, a private four-year college costs $32,410, with the same community college course coming in at an amazing $3,440.
Apply for Scholarships & Financial Aid
Applying for scholarships and financial aids is one of the best that you can do to pay off student loans fast. You don’t have to be a genius to get a scholarship, and with financial aid being available to many students, this is the first place to start. In 2015, $2.9 billion in grants were left unclaimed, so don’t be the one to miss out!
People often don’t apply because they think their families make too much money for the cut off threshold, but even households that make over $150,000 a year could get some form of financial aid. By filling out the FAFSA forms you can potentially access a wide range of financial aid, including grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs.
Pack a Lunch
Buying your lunch on campus can easily cost anywhere from $5-$20 depending on what you’re eating. Picking up coffee in the morning can also impact your expenses, running up your expenses from anything between $2-$5 per day! Over a period of 8 months of classes, a bought lunch and a daily cup of coffee could end up costing you well over $2500. So don’t only use your smarts in the classroom, apply them to your eating too.
Buy Used Textbooks
Believe it or not, but after tuition and room and board, books are the next biggest cost you’ll pay for in college. The average annual price tag for college textbooks comes in at a staggering $1250, so the best thing you can do is buy your books used. Sites like Slugbooks can be really helpful to find reasonably priced textbooks. You can also rent your textbooks for a fraction of the bought cost!