Plan A Little, Save A LOT When It Comes To College Debt

Here are some important tips that both students and parents can put into practice for those of you who are serious about reducing your college debt.

Take Advanced Placement courses in high school (Translation: More credits + faster time to meet graduation requirements – less time in school = less debt for you!)
Focused students can “load up” some credits by enrolling in (and doing well on) the Advanced Placement or AP courses offered at their high schools. These courses are generally considered college level, and many universities will permit incoming students who score high enough on the standardized exam to use them as substitute for core classes.

Research, Research, Research. Find out and map out the costs of the colleges you’re interested in attending before enrolling. Many students start a college program without knowing or understanding the actual costs. Caveat Emptor.

In the words of the Knight Templar, “You must choose, but choose wisely” when it comes to selecting your college major. Majors that are most likely to yield an immediate job offer after college are accounting, business administration, computer science, engineering and math, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. But never underestimate the power of mapping life passion to the major(s) that can ultimately lead to your career. Bringing the innovation that comes from your passion can work towards great success. students can still major in liberal arts and make themselves attractive to potential employers by choosing subjects that are marketable.

Exercise your math skills…by figuring out how much it will cost to pay back your student loans. At FinAid.org, you can use the Student Loan Advisor calculator to determine the monthly payment amount based on a future salary.

Loans R Us – one of your first steps in understanding the student loan process and options. MainStreet has compiled a good list breaking down the lingo and terms. Also, you should complete the free FAFSA form online to see what federal aid you are eligible for before enrolling. For a deeper look into the FAFSA process, click here.

See the PIG above? He’s there for a reason…Save as much and as often as you can!
It’s never too late to start. Also, certain states provides the means for you to receive an income-tax break for contributions to state-sponsored 529 plans. In addition, money withdrawn from 529 accounts and used to pay for qualified college expenses is tax-free. So take advantage if you can.

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