You want the best for your children and you want to help your college student graduate with minimal student debt. This includes getting a degree from a reasonable institution for higher learning. Unfortunately, helping your child have the best of everything can be expensive but it is possible to learn how to graduate with less student debt.
A college education is definitely no exception. After chasing a degree for four years, student debt can pile up to $25,000 or more and it can take years to pay back. There are a few ways to help your child become more independent and graduate with less student debt all without breaking into your own accounts.
Choose A College Based on Expenses to Help Your College Student Graduate with Minimal Student Debt
When you are helping your child select a university, make sure that price is a factor in the decision. Often a state college can provide a quality of education equal to an out of state university. The benefit is that attending a college or university in a state where your child has residency can significantly decrease how much you need to pay for tuition. Remember this when you are considering any private universities as well.
Brand new textbooks are a luxury that can’t always be afforded. Encourage your child to contact a professor before a class begins to find out if a text book is actually required. An unused textbook is money thrown away. Always buy textbooks used when it is an option. There are plenty of online resources and many universities offer a book exchange program among students.
Encourage Employment so Your Child will Graduate with Less Student Debt
It’s OK to contribute to your child’s education. Hopefully you have been saving up money from the time they were young so that you would be prepared for this moment. However, it is realistic to expect your child to make a significant contribution as well.
It can be beneficial for your child to prepare for the working world by having a job during college as well. Don’t worry if you see your student living from paycheck to paycheck — you’ve probably done it a few times in your own life too. Students who work while they are in school often do just as well if not better than students who do not work. They are better able to manage their time and make the most of the little free time they have.
Use Federal Loans to Help Your Child Learn How to Graduate with Less Student Debt
Loans from the government or the university are always a better choice than getting a loan from a private lender. Private loans are more ominous for a reason. They often do not offer any form of loan forgiveness whereas a federal or school loan is more willing to work with you or your student if there is a period of time when payments become difficult. The federal government also hands out a decent amount of money for financial aid that does not have to be paid back at all. It is always worth it for students to apply for these types of loans and aids.
Keep Track of Debt so that Your Child can Graduate with Less Student Debt
If your student has to get loans from a few different sources, it is important that student debt is carefully and regularly tracked. Track exact debt amounts, due dates, and payments. Let your child be responsible for this but help by having your own record as well. Missing a payment could seem like a small deal but turns out to be bad news later. Especially if your student will want to qualify for loan forgiveness (one of the qualifications is having perfect payments for ten consecutive years).
Pay Big Loans First because it will Help Your College Student Graduate With Minimal Student Debt
It is important that the bigger loans be paid before any of the other ones. It can be tempting for your child to pay smaller debts first because it seems more attainable and realistic. However, you should emphasize that the bigger a debt is, the more interest it will accumulate. If the interest rate is high and the debt is large, your student could end up paying more than they had bargained for.
Consider Student Debt Decreasing Options to Graduate with Less Student Debt
Although student loan forgiveness does not make a student exempt from paying back the entire loan, it does help with the tail end of it. To qualify for this, the student must have ten years of perfect loan payments.
Another option for having your loan forgiven is getting a job in military, government, public education, or civil service positions. The job must be held for ten years before your student can qualify for loan forgiveness.
If loan forgiveness seems too far off, it is possible to ask your lender to cap loan payments. If the payments are capped, it means that the lender cannot force payments to be over a certain percentage of income (usually around 10%). This will go a long way to help your college student graduate with minimal student debt repayments at the least.
Higher education is an attainable and worthy goal, regardless of your income. Don’t forget to consider scholarships and financial aid along with these options. Help your child get a start on a great education and career by teaching them the best ways to plan for their financial future.
Help them learn how to graduate with less student debt and even work/study programs help to graduate with less student debt.
Veronica Mason has a background in finance and education. She enjoys writing for Abakhan & Associates and in her spare time provides debt counseling and finance advice to help your college student graduate with minimal student debt..