Every year, more students take out thousands of dollars in student loans to pay for their tuition, on-campus housing, books, and other expenses associated with gaining an education. For many of these students, loan options are their first stop rather than the last. They see student loans as the best or only option. However, there are other ways that students can pay for college without incurring huge debts.
- Employer assistance – Employed students expecting to remain with their employer for some time should ask about tuition help. Some companies will help students pay for a degree if it relates to the employee's job. Others may offer assistance regardless of what program the student is studying. Often, this is part of the employee benefits package and costs the employee nothing.
- Scholarships – Another option, which needs some planning, is to find, apply for and receive more scholarships by doing more extracurricular activities. High school students should spend some time looking over potential scholarships during their junior or sophomore years, taking note of what extracurricular activities are valued.
- Start at a Community College – Four-year universities are more expensive than community colleges, and many students find that they can save money by taking their foundation classes at two-year institutes and then transferring to a university. Students should make certain that the credits will transfer before enrolling. If they do, the cost savings could be significant.
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