Research Your Way Out Of Student Debt

18.05.22 10:54 PM Comment(s)

Considering the challenges faced by high school students planning to obtain higher education, it is always advisable to research the student debt landscape as early as possible. In fact, it is never too late to research how to deal with student debt. You should start as early as high school, but also while attending college, or even if you are already in the workforce. This research will play a crucial role in avoiding pitfalls and will mentally prepare you to embrace uncertainties in your education and career journey. For example, 

Before College 

  • Check with your family where you stand in terms of college funds. Commit to saving for college as much as possible with something as simple as opening a high-yielding savings account, working while in high school, or even pursuing dual enrollment without compromising grades. 
  • Consider inexpensive colleges along with dream schools that may be more expensive. Keep in mind that graduate school will add to costs so it may be better to save tuition to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Another option is to get an associate degree from a community college and then transfer to a well-renowned university to finish the bachelor’s degree. 
  • Additionally, keep in mind that in-state tuition is significantly less expensive than out-of-state tuition. 

During College 

  • Accurately complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This will open the door for you to secure grants, scholarships, and student loan options. 
  • Use scholarship websites and databases to find non-federal grants, and scholarships, and do not forget to search for funding opportunities offered by your university, college, or alumni. 
  • If you must take student loans, make sure to maximize the subsidized student loans that defer interest payments until after you graduate.  Do your best to avoid private student loans that have minimal consumer protections and higher interest rates. 
  • The most crucial decision during college is to select a major. Especially, if you are passionate about a major that does not have high-income potential, then it is extremely important to minimize student debt. For this, you can: 
      • Find a job utilizing your network or through work-study programs.
      • Consider taking a semester or two off to work and save more money to pay for tuition
      • Carefully manage your budget to live as frugally as possible. 
      • Diligently explore scholarships and internships to offset costs and acquire as much experience during school while also getting a head start on building your professional network. 
      • Consider colleges and universities that offer co-op majors where you work and complete your degree at the same time to secure money and experience along the way. 

After College 

  • Be very careful in selecting your first job. If at all possible, focus on long-term career potential vs. short-term income. This is easier if you were able to minimize student debt. 
  • Keep yourself updated with current events happening around the world and understand what implication they could have on your career choice. You surely do not want to end up in an industry or sector where job prospects are declining.
  • Find a side hustle to increase your income. 
  • Upskill through additional certifications, licenses, or courses to increase your earning potential. 
  • Explore refinancing student loans. There are lenders who can help lower your monthly student loan payments, but they typically have difficult qualification criteria. A better option is to have your debt paid off by refinancing the with Defynance ISA.  You will be qualified based on your income and other factors and will never need a co-signer. The Defynance career and life support ecosystem could also help you with career prospects, credit improvement, mental health, and other financial resources and tools.