how to go to college without debt

How To Go To College Without Debt?

How To Go To College Without Debt?

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It feels like the Bachelor’s Degree is the new High School Diploma, it’s just really hard to get by without one. But with student loan debt skyrocketing and employment not guaranteed following college, it can be overwhelming to consider. Fortunately, there are many options out there today to help you to go to college without debt.

Start college savings early within a 529 plan

One of the best ways to save money for college is to start a dedicated fund for it. Most states, and some major banks, offer 529 plans that can be invested in at any time, this money is not subject to taxation when it is used for college – including lodging and some food costs. (Typically these must be on-campus purchases, or with university approval.)

What is a 529 plan?

The 529 Plan is a qualified tuition program (QTP) established and maintained by a state, or an agency of a state, that allows the contributor to either to prepay a beneficiary’s qualified higher education expenses at an eligible educational institution or to contribute to an investment account for paying those expenses.

For more information on 529 plans click on the link to the guide from the Federal Reserve, FINRA website.

Compounding interest is a beautiful thing, so the earlier you can contribute to your 529 plan, the better. Also, shop around and make sure you find one with excellent rates of return and ensure they are safe and reputable companies.

529 college savings plans come with specific tax rules and benefits. Please click the link to the IRS website for additional information.

#1 Rated College Savings & Investment Platform is Collegebacker

Collegebacker, what is it? College Backer is a company that provides information, advice, and options for 529 plans. It is FDIC insured and has been reviewed by Forbes, Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Consumer Reports, and CNBC to name a few.

Checking, savings, CDs and money market accounts in the United States are protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Click here to learn more information.

Why College Backer?

• Set your own fees
• Connect to existing 529 plans
• Allow friends and family to easily contribute
• Automated contributions
• Earn cash back rewards by shopping at specific partners
• 5% of the money from fees is donated to low-income families education, to make education more available to all.

#1 Rated College Savings & Investment Platform

If you’re thinking about college savings CollegeBacker is in my opinion the best platform for you. No other platform provides the simplicity, choices and options. Within as little as 5 mins you can have a tax-free growth investment plan in place. You can also have friends and family to directly contribute as well. Apply today if you’re planning on saving for college.

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Earn College Credits in High School

There are four main ways to earn college credits while you, or your child, are still in high school. These allow you to get college credit at a much more affordable cost and can help earn scholarship credits later.

AP Classes

AP stands for Advanced Placement. These classes are often offered to Juniors and Seniors in high school and are quite challenging,. Typically, credit is only received if the student receives a certain score (usually a 4 or 5) on the final AP test at the end of the year.

International Baccalaureate (or IB) Courses

Some high schools offer IB courses and even a special IB diploma for completing the program. These are similar to AP classes and must receive specific grades in order to receive the credits.

Dual Enrollment/Concurrent Enrollment

These classes are high school classes that provide college credit as long as they receive a specific grade. Your high school should have a list of available courses for you to take. They are designed with colleges to ensure the curriculum is college level, but there is not usually a final test, it is structured like a typical high school course.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

These tests allow students to show that they have sufficient knowledge to receive college credit without actually taking the courses. If the test is passed, the credit is assigned to the student without cost for the courses.

Apply for as many scholarships as you can

There are scholarships out there for every college, every major, every interest, everything that makes you uniquely you. Honestly, there is even a scholarship for people who love to knit. Apply for as many scholarships as possible. Keep a spreadsheet of the scholarships, when the due dates are, how much they are worth, and the requirements to keep yourself organized. One of the best tips for getting scholarships is to make sure that you fill out the applications completely, missing a single space or box can disqualify you.

To help you out with this process I put together a completely free to download scholarship guide. Click the link below to get instant access.

Download The Free College Scholarship Guide

FREE Scholarship Guide

Free Scholarship Guide Phone

This FREE comprehensive guide packed full of free knowledge, information and resources to help you in your scholarship search. This guide goes over scholarships that are available, how to find them, when to apply for them, how to get your money and how it could affect your student aid. 

There are scholarships out there for every college, every major, every interest, everything that makes you uniquely you. Honestly, there is even a scholarship for people who love to knit. Apply for as many scholarships as possible. Keep a spreadsheet of the scholarships, when the due dates are, how much they are worth, and the requirements to keep yourself organized. One of the best tips for getting scholarships is to make sure that you fill out the applications completely, missing a single space or box can disqualify you.

Each college and university will have specific scholarships – almost always for: academic achievement, athletic achievement, non-traditional students, etc. Be sure to do your research and choose a college where you qualify for the most scholarships possible.

Apply for financial aid

Many colleges and universities also offer financial aid. This is typically reserved for students who can demonstrate financial hardship or need. Financial aid is usually paid directly to the school each semester, however – if you do not pass your classes, you will be required to pay it back yourself. Getting financial aid requires a FAFSA form to be filled out (usually a simple process). 

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA). Click here to learn more information.

Lower living expenses

Live at home

Rent can be one of the largest expenses for college students, living at home or with roommates can decrease this cost dramatically.

Choose a state school or community college

Starting at a smaller, less expensive school is a great way to save a significant amount of money – especially for general education credits. Transferring generally isn’t difficult.

Buy used books

These are generally significantly cheaper than new editions.

Take a semester off to work 

It’s not a race to finish, and taking breaks can help you from getting burned out.

Don’t borrow more than you need

If you don’t have it, you won’t spend it.

Make sure you have a budget in place

 

Work-Study and Paid Internships

Work-study programs are offered at many colleges and universities, these programs allow you to earn wages while working on campus. These are excellent positions for students because they don’t require additional transportation and typically have flexible hours. 

Paid Internships can be difficult to find. Most internships are unpaid and meant to earn experience, but if you can find a paid internship – these are incredible opportunities to gain experience in your field and earn money for expenses.

Choose Your Post-College Job Wisely

Consider the earning potential of the career you are studying for. If you are training for a position that will likely earn a significant amount of money, you can afford to spend more on college as the debt will be unlikely to become overwhelming. However, if you are going into a position that is not typically well compensated (like a teacher) then carefully consider the amount of possible debt.

Many companies offer loan forgiveness or will even pay for college as you attend if you commit to working for them for a specific amount of time. Making the decision to work for one of these companies can be a great way to pay off college debts or pay for college without incurring debt in the first place.

There are typically loan forgiveness programs available for those willing to work in rural communities following graduation as well. Talk with your department counselor and ask if they are aware of scholarships and loan forgiveness programs for your specific major. 

Summary

College doesn’t have to mean student debt. There are many options for earning money before and during college, and incredible options for paying for college once you have graduated. All of these options require significant upfront effort, organization, and a willingness to do the research to find the best option for you. But, it is absolutely worth the effort.

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Frank Makrides

Frank Makrides

Is a former financial technology industry executive, licensed realtor, real estate investor, an award-winning speaker, has been published, holds multiple patents and is passionate about all things personal finance and entrepreneurship. He is also a proud husband and father of 2 amazing children.

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