How To Avoid Taking Student Loans
During this time of the year, seniors are filling their time with college applications, college visits, school, and grades- preparing for the rest of their lives. However, on top of all the stress of getting into college, students must also find ways to pay for their college education. According to Forbes, the student debt crisis is currently $1.56 trillion. For the class of 2017, each borrower on average owes $28,650. As most adults spend years of their lives repaying their student loans, students aim to avoid this fate by finding alternative ways to pay for college. Some methods to pay for college include work-study, merit-based scholarships, and need-based scholarships.
Work-study can be provided by either a federal agency or an individual’s university. It is a part-time job in which proceeds either pay the student directly or go towards funding the student’s college education. Work-study does not count against Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which allows students to receive more federal aid.
Merit-based scholarships are awarded to student applicants who receive high grades, high standardized test scores, and/or participate in high-level extracurriculars, making them stand out in the applicant pool. These scholarships are provided by both schools and external sources, which can be found on websites including Niche.com and Cappex.com. Each school provides a different application process for their merit-based scholarships, making it integral for individuals to research their school’s processes and/ or contact their admissions department for more information.
Need-based scholarships are provided to students by both colleges and external sources. They utilize the FAFSA to see students’ financial background. This allows colleges to compare students and award need-based aid to students who most require it. Again, external sources of this scholarship can be found through websites and, within each school, there are different application processes that require additional research.