How to Avoid Leaving College Drowning in Debt

It's being called a financial crisis.

You’ve might have heard the statistic. As many as 45 million Americans have student loan debt — amounting to about $1.49 trillion total.

The average person owes $32,000.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has made tackling student debt part of her 2020 presidential platform, and has encouraged people to share their stories with the hashtag #CancelMyDebt.

Financial professional Johnny Gottstein has advice for parents and students on how to avoid leaving college drowning in debt.

  • The first step to managing college debt is to find a school that fits within your budget. Many state schools offer steep discounts for in state students.
  • Another option that may reduce the cost of school is going to community college and then transferring to a four-year school to finish your degree.
  • There are many scholarships available to students, and even a few hours of work on a scholarship application can translate into meaningful tuition aid.
  • Although federal student loans carry a lower interest rate than many other loan types, there is still a cost associated with borrowing. Students should almost always avoid taking on more loans than they absolutely need.
  • One of the best ways to manage money and expenses is through a strict budget. By accounting for food, tuition, housing, and other expenses, students may be able to find ways to save or even resist the urge to make excessive purchases. Over time, these savings can really add up.
  • A part time job can not only provide additional income but can also be a good way to gain practical experience before entering the workforce.
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