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Minimize Student Loan Debt

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Fastweb's article on How to Minimize Student Loan Debt provides 14 tips on how to graduate with less debt. The tips fall into several groups: before college, choosing a college, during college and after college.

Before College

  • Save money in a college savings plan before enrolling in college. It is cheaper to save than to borrow.
  • Search for scholarships on free scholarship-matching sites like Fastweb.
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Choosing a College

  • Enroll at a less expensive college, such as an in-state public college.
  • If you enroll at an out-of-state public college, try to establish residency first so that you can qualify for in-state tuition.
  • Consider enrolling at a college with a "no loans" financial aid policy.
  • Compare colleges based on the out-of-pocket cost.

During College

  • Live at home with your parents.
  • Borrow federal first. Federal student loans are cheaper, more available and have better repayment terms.
  • Before buying something with student loan money, ask yourself whether you'd still buy it at twice the price.
  • Pay the interest on unsubsidized loans during the in-school and grace periods to prevent the loan balance from growing larger.
  • Work part-time during the school year and full-time during the summer to earn money for college.
  • Graduate with a Bachelor's degree in four years, not five or six.
  • Don't switch majors or transfer colleges.

After College

Additional Tips

See also Cutting College Costs and Budget Cutting.

 

 
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