The opportunity to attend a community, state, or private college can usher in many opportunities. People can pursue majors that lead to financially, intellectually, and emotionally fruitful futures. As a student or a soon to be student, you will have the opportunity to pursue majors with substantial yearly salaries. As you pursue your college career, it is paramount that you remember that the money borrowed while in college will affect your quality of life long after your last class. You don’t want to join the congregation of graduates who accrue substantial student loan debts. You can protect yourself by proactively planning your education.

Step 1: Apply for Scholarships and Grants

Arizona State University
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Many businesses and organizations offer scholarships and grants. You should apply for some of these every semester. Even if you think your mediocrity might prevent you from winning any, still apply. Every other student has that same fear. Be confident.

Your chances are better if you put yourself in the scholarship running. Any scholarships — even a $100 dollar scholarship — will decrease the amount you will need to take out in student loans. Don’t be discouraged if you fail to receive something your first year. Instead be proactive. Make yourself the dream candidate by maintaining a high GPA, joining clubs and sports, or volunteering in your community.

You can locate scholarship and grant information

From your high school counselor.
From your college financial aid office.
With free websites dedicated to college financial success like Fastweb. Only apply for the free scholarship sites. Sites that require payment are scams.

Step 2: Acquire a Part-Time Job

Part-time jobs are a great way to cover your weekly expenses. If you work 20 hours at an $8 per hour rate, you will earn $7680 a year before taxes. It may not be enough to pay for your tuition, but it will at least cover your rent, books, and food.

Work Study is a need-based job opportunity that is offered by many colleges. Like a regular job, you will be given a wage. Unlike a normal job, work study has a set limit you can earn each year.

The goal of a part-time job is to decrease your student loans. Just remember that your education comes first. You should quit your job or reduce your hours if you realize you are beginning to fall behind in your classes. Not everyone is wired to attend college full-time and work a part-time job.

Step 3: Think Frugal — Save Money on Textbooks

Textbooks — especially science, math, and medical textbooks — can be expensive. Some semesters could end up costing you around $600 to $800 to purchase. The good news? You can save money on your textbooks with these easy steps.

Plan ahead. Never purchase your books at the university bookstore. Campus bookstores are very expensive. Purchase your books from an online textbook seller. Bookfinder is a useful tool you can use to locate the best deals.
Rent your books. You can save money by doing this. Textbooks renters can be found online and at your university bookstore. The downside is that you’re responsible for returning the book and keeping it in pristine condition.
Use a credit card. You don’t want to rely too heavily on credit cards, but they are useful to hold you over until your money comes in. Just be sure to pay off the entire balance on your next due date, so you won’t accrue interest.

College loans can haunt you. Money conscious students should search every avenue available to reduce college debt. You can do this by decreasing your expenses and increasing your income. By the end of this process, you will have decreased the amount of student loans you need to take out.

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