With student loan debt now in the trillions and employment rates still low, it’s become a frightening landscape for potential college students. Many are opting to forego a college education to avoid a situation that leads them to living in their parents’ basements and working part time at McDonald’s despite having a four year degree. However, it doesn’t have to end up that way. With appropriate research and planning, college and a worthwhile job afterward are still possible. Here are some tips on how to keep student loan debt manageable:
- Know your major. One item that often leads to increased student loans is changing majors midway through a degree program. This extends the time spent in college and heavily increases the amount of money spent. Doing proper research on projected employment needs is a smart start to deciding what major to invest in.
- Plan out student loan payments. With research, it’s easier to estimate the overall cost of a degree program, as well as a monthly breakdown. Working out a plan that allows for payments to be made while in school makes a huge impact on the monthly payments required once a degree is finished. At minimum, pay interest each month to avoid the principal balance ballooning over time.
- Buy used. Used books purchased from other students are an impressive savings. Most students spend upwards of $700 a semester just on books. Many also use loan money to purchase unnecessary and expensive items in the school bookstore, such as computers and gaming consoles. By employing prior planning and setting aside funds specifically for books, students can buy their books outside of the bookstore setting, thus reducing the cost and avoiding the temptation to make superfluous purchases.