College Finance 101: How to make it to graduation without student debt

  • Network. Many corporations offer scholarship opportunities for employees, their families and the general public that are either need-based or merit-based. Reach out to your existing network of friends and family to see if they know of any opportunities through their employers. For additional information visit
  • Tip Before agreeing to any loan terms, make sure you have a clear understanding of the repayment terms of those loans. Know when payments will begin, how much the payment will be each month, and how much interest will be paid over the life of the loan so you can determine if, given your projected earning potential after graduation, you will be able to afford the loan.

    Apply for Student Loans. It can be hard to get a scholarship or grant. Your family may not qualify financially or there may be a high number of applicants applying for the same scholarships. That leaves you no choice but to acquire some amount of student loans. We urge you vet out all other possibilities before going this route. If you must acquire student loans, make sure you do your homework. You will want to carefully research the company or institution that will finance your loan so you can make the best decision for your individual situation. This will be time consuming, so we recommend you begin this as early as you can during your Junior or Senior years.

The factors that go into choosing will vary based on each individual’s situation. Speak with a financial advisor and the financial aid office at each university that you are considering. Pursue a Stafford subsidized loan first, and then resort to a loan from a bank if necessary.

Tip Will you be pursuing a graduate degree? Even if you are just conisdering it as an option, check if your loan payments can be deferred while you continue your education.

While the benefits of a college education are high regardless of your major, it is important to balance the costs of your education with the projected earnings for your job when you are selecting your course of study.

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