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How to Avoid Graduating With Mountains of Student Debt

You’ve probably heard the horror stories of college graduates earning a degree only to be faced with tens of thousands of dollars of student debt and no sure way to pay it back. That can make the idea of going to college seem pretty daunting, and maybe not quite the smart move your parents may have told you it was. Fortunately, there are things you can do to avoid graduating with mountains of student debt.

Take Your Time

The traditional timeline for earning an undergraduate degree dictates that it takes four years to earn a bachelor’s degree. It doesn’t have to though. You can take more time if you need to, especially if that means you can put more time towards working for the money to pay for your schooling. You may find that you value your education more because you’ve invested your own money into it. While it may take longer to complete your education if you choose to take a lighter course load or breaks to earn more money, you’ll likely find that you come out ahead in terms of where you are financially compared to where you would be if you had a ton of student debt.

Apply for Scholarships and Grants

It may sound cliche, but there’s a reason why scholarships and grants are so heavily promoted. Getting a full-ride scholarship is tough but possible. That said, if you don’t qualify, you can still apply for multiple scholarships and grants. If you are awarded enough, you can end up with what would amount to the value of a full-ride scholarship anyway. Keep in mind that different scholarships and grants may have continuing eligibility requirements you’ll need to maintain to keep them.

Pursue Another Route

College is great, but it isn’t for everyone. Plenty of people find their way into successful careers without it, though a lot of them still require some form of education. Trade schools and online courses can give you the training you need to succeed. There are plenty of online courses available for careers such as real estate. Find a career you’re interested in and do some research to see if a college degree is really necessary to get started.

It is possible to graduate without mountains of student debt. Take your time going through college if it makes it easier to pay for. Apply for multiple scholarships and grants. If all else fails, consider pursuing another route. College can be a wonderful, enriching experience, but it’s best to avoid letting it set you back financially for years to come.

Read this next: How to Decide on a Vocational School

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