March 18, 2018
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Now You Can Get Your Degree without the Big Debt

According to the U.S. Department of Education, nearly two-thirds of college graduates have credit balances exceeding $19,000, 25% have nearly $25,000, and one-tenth leave college owing more than $35,000. While college graduates can expect to earn more than their high school diploma holder counterparts, you clearly need to evaluate the debt burden and the impact it has at graduation and beyond. Consider these strategies when you begin planning for college, either for yourself or your teenager.

Stay for 2, Go for 2
Students can save thousands of dollars by completing their first two years at a local community college. Satisfy the general requirements and then transfer to a four year university. In many instances, the tuition and fees will be half the cost of a four year university, plus you can save money on housing if you live with your parents.

Start Before it Ends
It is hard to imagine adding more to today’s high school plates but many students are doing college coursework at their local community college, for credit. They also have the opportunity to take Advance Placement and “CLEP” exams. While there are fees involved, with today’s skyrocketing college tuition and fees, the earlier you start the better.

For students considering out of state colleges, be aware of these programs that could help you save money on tuition:

·         Sixteen southern states, the Academic Common Market, allow students seeking degree programs not available in their home states to pay in-state tuition.

·         The Western Undergraduate Exchange is comprised of fifteen western states with reciprocity rates.

·         The Midwest Student Exchange Program offers students access to neighboring states colleges at reduced rates.

Work as You Go
Many companies provide educational reimbursement benefits. The benefit is essential to attracting and retaining employees and is usually available to full-time employees after one year of service. However, some firms do offer this benefit to part-time employees. Starbucks is one such company, though there is a scale of reimbursement proportional to an employee’s position.

Loan forgiveness is a possibility, depending on your profession, willingness to relocate, and time commitment to serve in communities in need. The loan can be fully or partially wiped out. Following is a list of some of the larger programs involved in loan forgiveness:


·         Nurse Loan Repayment

·         The National Institute of Health

·         The Peace Corps

·         Federal Teaching Corps


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