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Updated on Wednesday, August 19, 2015
There are plenty of reasons to be anxious when you start college. You will probably be taking new classes, living far away from your parents and meeting a lot of new people. If you are attending college for the first time this fall, you’ve probably already started exploring ways to pay for college. Whether you’ve taken out student loans to foot the bill or you’ve acquired enough financial aid to get you through the early years, you are probably already confused and a little concerned.
Many students try not to think about repaying their debt. Instead, they borrow as much as possible and just hope that everything will work out in the end. But you don’t need to do it that way. Increasingly, many students are already starting to attack their debt burden while they are still in school. We will explain how they do it.
1. Take out as few loans as possible
While it may be too late for the start of this semester, the best way to set yourself up for success is to borrow the least amount of money possible. Apply for scholarships, keep your grades high and continue to look for financial assistance even during your time in college. There is nothing wrong with being a frugal student: watch every penny to keep your debt burden as low as possible.
2. Get a job while in school
Just because you’re a full-time student doesn’t mean you can’t also get a job. Be sure to explore options for employment on campus including ones that aren’t tied to work-study. You can use the money you earn to reduce the amount you need to borrow.
3. Start paying your loan while you are still in school
Your job and frugality might actually put more money in your pocket than you expect. Rather than using the money for a trip to Florida, you can start making loan payments while you are still in school. Unless your student loan is subsidized, it starts accruing interest right away. Every penny you put towards your loan while in college can really save you money down the road.
4. Don’t hide from your monthly payment
It’s easy to shove your student loans under the rug. You want to live a carefree life while in college. But do yourself a favor and use a repayment calculator now to see what your monthly repayment options will look like when you graduate. Sure, this may be a heavy hit, but it could also be the motivation you need to restructure your life and pay a little more during your college stay.
Making a Dent, Even a Small One, Is Worth Doing
With student loan debt, small adjustments in college can have a big impact on your life after your graduate. By borrowing as little as possible, working as much as possible and throwing a few dollars towards your debt today, you could end up with a much more manageable debt burden.