We asked our college student readers to share with us ways they have implemented and found effective for reducing student loan debt. We have chosen a few of these great answers to share with the rest of our readers. Thanks to all of you who sent in ways to help reduce student loan debt. If you are currently struggling with student loan debt, or are looking for ways to help reduce your student loan debt, look for help and resources in our Student Loan Debt Help Section.
There ARE ways too avoid student loan debt, I’m an average college student and I get scholarships every year, and like I said I’m pretty average as far as GPA, etc… It does take a lot of time and work to search out scholarships and apply, but a few small scholarships here and there DO add up. I only take out about 1/2 as much in student loans as my friends do, so my advice would be to spend some time applying for small scholarships and grants, and avoid private student loans, I think this is you’re best bet in reducing student loan debt.
– Brandy, Colorado College
I work 2 part-time jobs and am enrolled in Oregon State University as a full time student. I would rather make the sacrifice to spend a little less time hanging with my friends, to not have to take out any of my living or textbook expenses in student loans. I am not willing to take out a student loan to pay my rent, only to have to pay it back with interest! Those who think you can’t work and go to college full time are not thinking straight. You can really reduce your potential for student loan debt by simply getting job.
– Drew, Oregon State University
This may sound a bit weird, and is not for everyone, but I have actually received a decent amount of money through essay writing contests. Unlike scholarships many of them do not have a GPA requirement, which is nice. The awards are not as much as some larger scholarships, but every little bit of money you get for college helps to reduce your student loan debt.
– Charlotte, University of Illinois
I am a recent college grad with private student loans and federal student loans. The way in which I am reducing my student loan debt as fast as I can is to prioritize my student loans. Since my private student loans interest rate is far greater than my federal student loan interest rate, I am doubling up on my private student loan payments each month (making pre-payments to pay the down the balance of the private loans twice as fast). I realize this may not be a possibility for everyone, but I am putting myself on a really tight budget to make this work. I may be giving up a majority of my “fun money” for the time being in order to do this, but I am reducing my student loan debt more effectively (and at less cost) in the long-run.
– Beth, Unknown
I recently graduated college, and I have a really easy tip for reducing your student loan debt. If you have to take out private student loans (which everyone I know does), begin making your loan payments right after graduation. Do not wait it out through that six month grace period they give you, all this does is accrue interest which they will end up adding to the principal of your loan (at least this was the case for my student loan), and thus make your loan balance larger.
– Devon, California State University