It’s not always possible to avoid college debt, but try anyway

by Grace

When Rebekah Bell wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal about how it’s possible to graduate from college debt-free, some people scoffed.  Bell is a freelance writer who recently graduated from Biola University, and here’s the essence of her advice.

Scout out scholarships, take courses online, use your skills to make money and get a summer job.

Dave Berry, CollegeConfidential Senior Contributing Editor, had this reaction.

Duh. Good luck with that.

Realistically, it’s almost impossible for many students to escape college debt.  With today’s high college costs, even following Bell’s common-sense recommendations may leave them with a funding gap that can only be met by borrowing.  Still, she did cover the bases on some essential ways to cut costs.

  • Look for scholarships/tuition discounting.  Maximize your merit aid opportunities by applying to schools where your statistics are in the top quarter of admitted students.
  • Take  online classes if you can; they’re often less expensive.
  • Start out your first year or two at community college.
  • Maximize college credits with AP courses, dual enrollment, and College-Level Examination Program (CLEP).
  • Earn money during college.  Working 10-20 hours a week is manageable for many students.
  • Look for paid summer internships.
  • Be frugal.

I would add that graduating in four or even three years makes a huge difference total college costs.  So taking advantage of AP credits and hustling to take all courses needed in time can amount to big savings.


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