Steering Clear of College Debt by Anthony ONeal

Is there anything more handy than the GPS app on your phone? Think about it. Not only does it tell you how to get where you want to go, it gets you there on the fastest route possible—avoiding traffic jams that could slow you down.

Steering Around Debt

Wouldn’t it be great to have a GPS that told you the best way to navigate college?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret—I have the GPS for college. And just like your GPS app can warn you about upcoming traffic jams, this approach to paying for school has the power to save you years of time and trouble.

There are two ways people pay for college: Most often, they take out student loans. Or they pay cash.

If you choose the most popular route, you’ll start your career with an enormous debt that will take years to pay off. But if you head the other way, you can get the same degree and opportunities—without the giant financial burden.

Easy choice right? Who would take the pain of the first path when the second has the same benefits without the trouble.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why is debt such a serious problem? I’m so glad you asked.

Today’s New Grads Are Getting Crushed by Loans

I can testify from my own college experience: I wound up with $25,000 in college debt—a lot less than the $37,172 The Wall Street Journal says today’s graduates owe. I’ve paid it all off now. It was a lot of hard work, and for years after I graduated, I couldn’t do what I wanted to with my money because I was constantly having to make payments on my debt.

So don’t do what I did. Instead, pay cash for your education.

Here are several ways.

1. Scholarships

Scholarships are awesome! They’re awarded for all kinds of skills, accomplishments and career paths, and finding them is as easy as an internet search for the word scholarship.

2. Grants

Grants, like scholarships, are another form of financial aid you don’t have to repay. Your school, various organizations and federal assistance programs all offer grants often based on financial need and your status as a part-time or full-time student.

3. Work-Study Programs

Work-study programs help students find part-time jobs while they’re in school to help pay their school expenses. They’re one more way to avoid loans!

4. Applying for Financial Aid

Your first step in accessing these cash resources is to apply for financial aid by filling out the annual Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Complete it at fafsa.ed.gov. Schools will use your information to decide your eligibility for aid.

I wish I’d known about these options before I went to college and took on a mountain of debt. Believe me, putting in a little extra effort now will be worth it when you graduate and the bills have already been paid!

Anthony-Oneal-the-teen-mentor.jpgAbout the Author – Since 2003, Anthony ONeal has helped thousands of students make good decisions with their money, relationships and education to live a well-balanced life. Now Anthony has joined Ramsey Solutions to spread this encouraging message to students nationwide as a Ramsey Personality.

You can follow Anthony on Twitter and Instagram @AnthonyONeal  and online at anthonyoneal.com or facebook.com/aoneal.

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