7 Ways to Reduce Student Loans While Your Child is in School

According to media reports, 1 out of 6 college students are defaulting on their student loans.*  Naturally, the smartest thing for any student to do is take out as few loans as possible, but often the student or family is not aware of their options.

If your child is college bound or in school right now, here are 7 ways to reduce their student loans while they are still in school: 

1. Plan to Save for College Before School Starts

Even though the norm is to begin college right after high school graduation, your child could take one year off from school to work fulltime and save as much of their pay as possible.   They can even get accepted to their school of choice, but defer enrolment.  This way, they know exactly what they are working towards.   Working can also open up the student’s perspective about what subjects they want to major in (or avoid).

2. Choose a College that is affordable (or provides a higher scholarship)

After your child has short-listed the colleges they are interested in, compare total tuition costs, as well as how much the school contributes in scholarships.  A more expensive school might be cheaper if it provides a higher percentage of aid.   In-state tuition in going to be cheaper than going to an out-of-state school. Taking classes at a community college for two years before transferring to a bigger school can save a bundle.   

It is also smart to consider the location of the potential school and opt for lower living costs.  NYU in Manhattan will cost a whole lot more in terms of going about town than if your child chooses a small college in Illinois for example.

3. Combine Online College with Working Part-Time

There are tons of accredited, reputable and even elite colleges that have the online classes.   Students can live cheaply at home with their parents, and earn a full year of college credits online in their spare time.  

4. Fill Out the FAFSA Right

Fill out the FAFSA correctly before each academic year. This is your chance to get grants from the government and qualify for federal aid, including federal loans — which will most likely have a lower interest rate than private loans and come with a variety of other benefits, including the possibility of hardship deference and more manageable payment plans.

5. Apply for Scholarships

Scholarships are free money that you can get from schools or organizations.  Search for scholarships at your college (visit the financial aid department), within any professional fields you’re interested in, through organizations in your community, and any other groups or affiliations you’re involved with. 

6. Search for Grants

Grants are similar to scholarships in that they are free money — you do not have to pay them back. Check your state government and other organizations for grants.

7. Graduate Early or Supplement Expensive Credits with Cheaper Credits

Your child can take between 4 and 6 classes a semester, and thereby graduate early which could significantly save you tuition money.  The other option is to enter school with AP credits, or even take online college classes on the side that get transferred.  Even taking community college classes in the summer, could add cheaper credits to the mix, and help your child to graduate a year earlier.

Do you want personal attention and guidance throughout the entire college planning process?

I can help provide services for the entire college planning process that could potentially save you thousands of dollars.   This includes helping your child produce a winning application to the right schools, helping you organize your finances, provide invaluable support for the FAFSA application process, and help you appeal for more financial aid support.   

Please set a time in my calendar by clicking the link below so we can start the college planning process.

*Source:  http://time.com/money/4701506/student-loan-defaults-record-2016