There is no doubt that a four year degree can be a valuable asset when you are looking for a better job in today’s society. Unfortunately, the costs of gaining that degree are continuing to rise out of the comfort zones of most parents and students. Student loans can quickly soar into the hundreds of thousands if you do not plan for them.
1. Prepare as Early as Possible
Start a savings account that will be used strictly for college. Even if you are starting late and can only save a little, that account will help you keep the student loans to a minimum. Many states offer special college savings programs that limit your tax liability on the money that you save.
2. Choose a School that Fits your Budget
The different costs between universities can be staggering. Make sure that the school you choose is giving you the best degree for your money. In many cases, a degree from a public university will be just as powerful as a degree from a private institution when you are looking for a job. The truth is that hiring managers look at your grade point average, not your alma mater. Cheaper schools are traditionally less academically challenging, so they make sense from cost savings and job searching points of view. Compare the success rates of graduates from several different schools, and base your decision on what you can expect from the degree.
3. Get Creative
Students have many options when it comes to college. You could take AP classes during high school and cut down on the number of years you have to attend college, which could cut an entire year’s tuition from your bills. Many students are beginning to take advantage of inexpensive community colleges for their first two years of school, then transferring to the larger university for their final two years. Going to school locally for two years will save you on housing and meal expenses as well as tuition.
4. Apply Everywhere!
The government offers subsidized and unsubsidized student loan options that have lower interest rates than most typical loans. Try to cover as many of your costs with these low rate loans before you approach a lending institution to borrow more money. If you qualify, a subsidized loan does not charge interest on the borrowed amount. If possible, a home equity loan is also a less expensive option than a standard student loan. Apply for each scholarship and grant you can find. Many grants go unclaimed simply because no one applies.
5. Have Your Student Calculate the Costs
The most powerful way to cut down on student loan borrowing and overall student spending is to have the student calculate the costs of paying the loans back on their own. Student loan calculators are great tools for bringing the esoteric idea of thousands of dollars in loans down to earth with real life monthly payment plans.
Jessica Bosari writes for Technology-Colleges.info, a site that helps students find and apply to the best technology schools. Visit the site to explore computer science jobs and computer networking careers.
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