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In today’s job market, a college degree is becoming more and more a necessity. However, many recent college graduates are struggling because of the amount they owe in student loans when they graduate. Some people may avoid going to college just to avoid accumulating a large amount of debt. There are ways to attend college without borrowing a lot of money, even if you do not qualify for an academic scholarship, you can limit the amount you borrow and make paying for school more manageable.

1. Scholarships and Grants

It is worth the time and effort to apply for scholarships and grants. At the very least you should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the form for Pell Grants, as well as for federal student loans. Additionally many colleges require you to fill it out in order to be considered for other scholarships offered through the college. After you do that look for private scholarships you may qualify for through your work or your parent’s work. Look at scholarships offered in the community as well.

2. Choose an Affordable School

One of the ways you can limit the amount you have to borrow is by choosing to attend a more affordable school. Private schools often cost much more than public schools. In the end, you can attend a good state school with a solid reputation and save thousands of dollars on your college tuition. You should also consider the cost of living in the area when you are choosing a school. If you can live in an area where rent is not through the roof, you will be able to get by on less, and this can make it easier to borrow less money.

3. Work and School

Another option to help you lower the amount you borrow is to work while you are attending school. Holding down a part-time job during school, and then working over the summers will allow you to cover the majority of your living expenses. Many employers also offer tuition reimbursement programs. They will pay for the cost of your tuition each semester. Often you will need to pay the tuition and then they will give you a check at the end of the semester when you have completed classes. They may have requirements about the type of degree you are working towards or that you maintain a certain grade in order to have class reimbursed. This is a great option if you really want to save on college expenses. Additionally, you will have work experience in addition to a degree when you graduate from college.

5. Create a School Budget

Before you sign up for student loans you need to create a budget that you can stick to each month. The budget should include school expenses, as well as monthly living expenses. This budget can limit the amount you spend and allows you to divide up your money so that you have enough money left to buy groceries at the end of the semester. It is important to realize that you are a college student and to plan your spending accordingly. You can buy nicer furniture, clothes and an expensive car once you graduate and you have a good job. Right now you should focus on meeting just the necessities while you are in school.