Sage Day accompanies children throughout their educational journey, helping them transition for life after graduation providing assistance regarding a college education for those interested in pursuing further studies. For children this age, there are many vital points to consider, including selecting the college that is most appropriate, identifying interests and skills, and exploring interesting alternatives just in case students are not accepted into their course of choice. Finances are another important issue, considering that in the United States, the average graduate in the year 2016 raked up a $37,172 student debt. The key to preventing loans from standing in the way of future plans (e.g. traveling after study or even starting up one’s own businesses) is not getting into debt to begin with. Try to avoid debt or reduce your student loan by following these tips:
- Talk to your parents early on about how much you will need to borrow: Sit down with your parents and have an honest talk as early on as possible in your application process, to work out how much you will need to borrow and to find out whether or not you are entitled to financial aid.
- Start early in high school: Don’t wait until your last few months of school to ask about local and national scholarships. Check out sites like www.raise.me, which gives students the opportunity to earn funds for college while they are still in high school, simply for excelling academically. May colleges take part in this incentive.
- Obtain summer employment and try to work part-time while studying: One of the best things about college is the freedom and flexibility it offers. Even the most difficult courses usually offer flexibility when it comes to hours – i.e. you may have to attend many classes one day, and hardly any the next. If you find that you can spare a few extra hours, try to work part-time to cut down on your total loan amount. Try to find employment in your chosen profession; this will kill two birds with one stone, since you will meet a valuable network of persons who may help you find permanent employment after you graduate. Alternatively, the firm or company you work for may be so impressed with you that they offer you full-time employment. Ask your college about work study programs, and about any vacancies at the college itself. They typically work around student schedules and pay a fair wage.
- Stick to a budget: Most colleges will offer help on the average amount you will need to pay your tuition, rent accommodation and pay for monthly expenses. Take this information into account, but make your own budget after you have been at college a couple of months and you can make a reasoned assessment of how much you need to get by.
- Find and Apply for Financial Aid: Consult websites like College Board and Fastweb to see what scholarships you may be eligible for. Don’t wait too long to do this, since many scholarships will require you to complete an essay or complete a project as part of your application. It really pays to set aside the time you need to prepare a truly smashing project, so your work stands out and your likelihood of obtaining the scholarship increases. To apply for grants and loans, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You will not be eligible for the latter if you cannot demonstrate financial need, so talk to your parents to ascertain whether or not applying is worth it.
- Only borrow what you need: The FAFSA may decide you are entitled to a specific amount, but you may actually need less. Don’t take the maximum amount they offer if you don’t really need it.
- Avoid credit cards: Don’t apply for more credit cards than you need; it can be easy to rake up a large bill. If you have to take out a student loan, bear in mind that it may be difficult to pay afterward; don’t add to your burden by tacking on unnecessary loans.
- Obtain expert advice if required: If you need to take out several loans (e.g. a car loan in addition to your student loan), see a financial advisor about how you can minimize your financial burden.
- Reduce your college expenses: Textbooks can be very expensive, particularly in specific college courses, such as Law and Medicine. Don’t buy the full list of books before classes even start. Get to know other students in your dorm or advanced classes, who may have books from the past year they no longer need. They may be able to sell you various books at an excellent price.
- Reduce expenses by living simply:Forego meals in restaurants (even fast food restaurants can make a big dent on your monthly budget) and cook at home. Leave your dorm or home a little earlier and walk to class instead of taking public transport. Shop wisely, using a list, and shop lesser but more efficiently. Ultimately, there is no definitive way to save on monthly expenses, since we all have different needs, interests and pastimes. Each student should make his or her own budget and stick to it with discipline and a view to a more financially solid future.
This article was written by freelance writer, Anne Foy