Thinking about attending college?

Thinking about attending college , or going back to school, but are worried about accruing debt? Good, you should be! According to a report from the Institute for College Access & Success' Project on Student Debt, "students graduating in 2010, had an average of $25,250 in student loan debt"*.

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Gone are the days when the ivory tower selected only the best and brightest to mentor and mold. Today, higher education is a business and college administrators are treating it that way. Before you lay down your hard earned cash, or sign those dreaded students loans, do your homework. Attending college without student loan debt is possible, it just takes a little research and an open mind.

To attend college without debt, consider the each of the following tips:

Dont be Brand Specific- Sometimes generic is just as good as the brand name degree sans the fancy packaging. *Disclaimer* I'm not saying all schools are created equal, obviously do your research and make a decision that works for you*. Sure it's nice to have a fancy name brand on your resume, but the truth of the matter is, the university you attend doesn't make or break you. There are plenty of intelligent and successful people who attended inexpensive state schools and plenty of not so intelligent people who attended expensive private universities. Do what makes sense for you and your budget. 10 years from now would you rather have a good degree from a state school and no student loan debt, or a designer degree from an elite school and $50,000 in student loans?

Apply to Private Schools- This one may seem a little counter intuitive since many private schools are more expensive then public schools, but keep reading. When you're thinking about where to apply, look at the cost of attendance first. State schools and community colleges often offer the most educational bang for your buck, but you might be surprised to know that the scholarships that private schools offer can actually make attending private school a better deal. When I applied to colleges I was pleasantly surprised to earn a scholarship that made attending a small liberal arts college cheaper then attending my local state university.

Chose an Inexpensive School- No brainer, right? Choosing a reasonably priced school is of supreme importance. If your schools tuition is $40,000 a year, it would be pretty hard to attend without student loans, unless you're independently wealthy. If you plan to stay in your local area, price out a few of the local schools. Remember that the price of the tuition is not always reflective of the quality of learning. More money doesn't mean you'll get a better education.

Consider Cost of Living- Got a, full ride scholarship at a great school? Consider cost of living before sending back your, I'll attend postcard. When you calculate your cost of living including, apartment rental, cost of food, travel expenses etc. you might be surprised at the added cost. If you're living in Hawaii your food costs will be high. If you're living in NYC your rent will be high. If you're from California and going to school in Boston, your travel costs to get to and from school on breaks will be high. Try to attend a school in a low cost of living area to avoid taking out unnecessary student loans for living expenses. A school with cheap tuition doesn't make sense if the cost of living in the area is triple the national average. Consider both tuition and cost of living when choosing a university.

Posted in Business Service Post Date 03/19/2016


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