Unless you’ve received a full-ride scholarship to college, saved your pennies, or have another way to pay for college, the chances that you’ll incur some amount of student loan debt are almost unavoidable. However, there are ways to keep the student loan debt from becoming overwhelming and reducing your chances of filing for bankruptcy in the future. This article discusses certain steps you can take before and while in college, in order to avoid falling too deep into debt while furthering your education.
Now you may be thinking that filing for bankruptcy doesn’t discharge your student loan debt. This is not entirely true. Many people looking for relief from debt, including student loan debt will discuss their financial options with a Naples bankruptcy attorney. And in some cases, it is possible to discharge student loan debt.
If you’d like to discuss your financial situation with a bankruptcy lawyer in Naples, contact the law office of Miller, Hollander, & Jeda. We can help you get back on your feet and on the path to financial freedom.
How To Reduce Student Loan Debt Before College
- Work and Save – Before you start college, it’s a good idea to have a dedicated savings for school. If you are able to, snag a part-time or even full-time job before attending a college that allows you to save money for college, even if it’s only $100, you’ll be better off because of it.
- Apply for Scholarships – The better you do in high school the better chance you have for getting scholarships or even a full ride to the college of your choice. Discuss your options with your school counselor and even the college you’re planning on attending. Scholarships are often an untapped “free money” resource that many students who are actually eligible, never apply for. The smartest thing you can do is do well in school and apply for as many scholarships as possible.
- Don’t Rush – If you’re not ready to attend college, it might be a better financial decision to wait until you are ready. Additionally, you can attend college for just your generals, until you are ready to select a major.
- Take AP Courses – Some high schools offer AP (Advanced Placement) courses, which can offer college credit for high scores on the AP test. These classes are generally geared towards general education courses and could potentially allow you to skip a semester of college. This could save you an average of $5,000 to $15,000, depending on the college.
- Apply For Financial Aid – If you qualify for financial aid, there are many grants that work similarly to scholarships, in that you don’t have to pay them back (read the fine print!).
How To Reduce Student Loan Debt While You’re In School
- Create a Budget & Stick To It – As bankruptcy attorneys in Naples, we’ve seen many people file simply because they are living outside their means. Create a budget that is reasonable and that you can stick through during college and after. Mint is an excellent budgeting tool for beginners that can help you manage your money.
- Get Used Textbooks – Textbooks in college are expensive. Most college campus bookstores have a used section where you can get the books you need at a reduced rate. Additionally, look online for your books before you pay full price.
- Avoid Credit Cards – Before and during college, especially if you’re coming from high school, you will begin to notice a mass amount of credit card offers flying in. Avoid these tempting offers at all costs. One credit card with a reasonable limit is great for emergencies, but there is no reason to create more unnecessary debt while you’re in school.
- Work Part-Time or in the Summer – Studying full time in college can be physically and mentally exhausting, however, if you’re able to, without negatively impacting your studies, working full time can help to reduce some of the student loans you need to take out. Furthermore, some employers are willing to pay for their employee’s education. Contact the college in your area, for more information regarding companies that may offer this type of reimbursement.
- Go to a Community College – Community colleges are much less expensive than four-year colleges. Since the bulk of classes you’ll be taking the first two years are general education classes anyway, this is one way to save money while still getting a good education. Pro Tip: Make sure to transfer to a four-year school that will honor all the credits from your community college.
If you’re out of college and facing an overwhelming amount of student loan debt, our Naples bankruptcy attorneys may be able to help. Contact our Naples bankruptcy law office today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.