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Hunter Hobson Shares 8 Creative Solutions For College Debt
Paying for college can make a student’s academic career incredibly stressful. Without proper planning, college debt can accumulate quickly, leaving graduates with a mountain of debt that may take years to pay off.
If the financial strain of college feels overwhelming, there are creative solutions to make it more manageable. Here are some of the best strategies Hunter Hobson suggests for eliminating college debt.
Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
Many federal and state programs exist to reduce or forgive student loan debt for those who meet certain criteria. Some requirements include working in specific professions, working for certain organizations, or meeting income thresholds. It’s essential to research these programs and determine if you are eligible to apply.
For example, qualified graduates may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, eliminating any remaining student loan debt after 120 qualifying payments are made while working full-time in public service jobs.
Employer Tuition Assistance Programs
If you’re already working while attending college, check with your employer to see if they offer tuition assistance programs. These programs may reimburse certain classes or even full tuition for an approved degree program.
Even if your employer doesn’t have a formal tuition assistance program, you could still negotiate with them to pay for some of your college costs. Employers often appreciate the skills and knowledge a college education provides. As such, they may be willing to pay for some of the tuition costs in exchange for a commitment to future employment.
The federal government and many states offer tax credits or other deductions to help offset some college expenses. These credits can be applied for in the year tuition, fees, and additional education-related costs were paid. For example, the Lifetime Learning Credit and American Opportunity Tax Credit are two examples of federal credits available to offset the cost of tuition.
Additionally, some states offer a tax deduction on 529 plan contributions. A 529 plan is a savings plan designed to cover future college costs. The deductions can be substantial enough to help reduce the impact of college debt. The tax code is complex, so it’s essential to research the various credits and deductions available to ensure you take advantage of all that apply to you. Doing so can help reduce your overall college costs.
Refinance Student Loans
If you already have student loan debt, consider refinancing with a private lender. Refinancing allows you to consolidate multiple loans into one, which can help you save money in the long run.
When refinancing student loan debt, look for lenders that offer low-interest rates and flexible repayment plans. Doing so could significantly reduce your overall payment amount and help you pay off your debt faster.
Crowdfunding has become a popular way to raise money for medical, travel, or educational costs. If you need help paying for college, consider launching a crowdfunding campaign to get the support of family and friends.
You can also look into specialized crowdfunding sites catering to students needing financial aid. These platforms may offer additional resources and advice to help you reach your goals.
Part-time work is one of the fastest ways to offset college costs. Working a few hours a week can help you build up your savings and earn extra money for tuition, books, and other expenses.
Many universities also offer work-study programs that allow students to earn money while attending classes. These jobs are often connected to the university in some way, giving students a chance to access resources and gain valuable experience.
Find Scholarships And Grants
Scholarships and grants can be a great way to pay for college without worrying about loans or debt. Numerous scholarships are available from universities, corporations, and nonprofits.
Take some time to research the various scholarships and grants available so you can apply to those that best meet your needs. Doing so can help reduce the money you need to borrow or pay out of pocket for college expenses.
Look Into Military Education Benefits
Several programs are available to help pay for your education if you serve in the military. The GI Bill, for example, provides financial assistance for tuition and other college expenses, housing allowances, and book stipends.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill is an upgraded version that offers even more generous benefits, including increased tuition coverage and better access to job placement services. It’s essential to research your options to take advantage of the best program for your situation.
Consider A Gap Year
A gap year is when students take school breaks to travel, volunteer, or pursue other interests. It can be an excellent way to explore the world and gain valuable experience without racking up debt.
During your gap year, you can find part-time work or complete internships to help pay for travel and other expenses. It’s also an excellent opportunity to develop skills and gain insight into potential career paths that could be beneficial when you eventually return to school.
Solutions for College Debt: Final Thoughts
Hunter Hobson understands that paying for college can be challenging. But there are plenty of ways to make it more manageable. By taking advantage of available credits and deductions, refinancing student loan debt, using crowdfunding, and finding scholarships and grants, you can drastically reduce the amount of money you need to pay out of pocket. It’s also worth considering a part-time job or gap year to help cover the costs. You can make college affordable with a bit of planning and effort.