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Improving Your Career Options While Avoiding the 'Debt Degree'

Get your college degree for a better future, without incurring debt.

Going back to school essentials
Earning a college degree is a wise investment into your future. But with raising costs
and unemployment rates, you need to choose your financial options wisely and
avoid potential pitfalls.
(Photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash)

With the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting higher weekly earnings and lower unemployment rates for college-educated individuals versus those who stopped with a high school diploma, going for that college degree seems like a wise investment. However, as the cost to attend college has risen over the last decade, the likelihood of incurring college-related debt has also increased – and is a top concern of both students and parents.

It’s wise for you to be concerned about long-term debt and to factor that into your decision. However, it’s also wise to balance that fear with the long-term benefits of a college degree and to explore options that can possibly keep that debt manageable. Once you’ve decided on a degree plan and an institution of higher education, look for resources to help balance your strengths versus your weaknesses to optimize your success. Here are some helpful tips, courtesy of Home Based Business Infonet Center.

Financial options and pitfalls

Obviously one of the best ways you can avoid being a part of the record accumulation of student loan debt is to avoid taking out student loans to pay for college. However, this is not always entirely realistic; investing some effort into researching ways to reduce the number and amount of loans you need will pay off.

Personal resources

Talk to your parents about whatever savings they may have set aside for you and then add to that. If you don’t have any personal savings, consider taking a part-time job or after-hours “gig” to bolster your college savings account. Do this as early as possible, even while you’re in high school.

Scholarships and grants

Getting financial assistance for your tuition and related education expenses that doesn’t need to be repaid is a prime goal. Check into available scholarships online, and don’t forget about civic organizations in your community, especially any in which you or your parents participate. Some of the scholarship amounts offered are small, but getting two or three of them can quickly add up. If you are still in high school, remember that your chances of getting a scholarship increase with a higher GPA, so buckle down!

Research salaries of your degree preferences

Obviously, you want to get a degree in something you’re interested in. Research current and projected average salaries for your top choices, then weigh that against your ability to pay off your education debt once you are employed.

Cut your expenses

In general, you can expect your financial need to be greater if you choose to live on campus versus off. If you are currently living on your own, consider moving back home with your parents, or perhaps sharing a living space with a relative or friend while you’re in college.

Smiling female student, against a blurry background of more students and book shelves.
With savvy planning, wise financial decisions, smart campus choices and a strong
motivation to succeed, you can set yourself for a bright future with a college degree.

(Image by: Pixabay)

Campus champion choices

Depending on where you live, you may have a wide range of college choices available to you, from community colleges, to private and public universities. One route that gives you more options with fewer geographical restrictions is the online college degree program. In addition, pursuing an online degree is often an excellent avenue to mitigate student debt accumulation:

  • Increased flexibility allows you to work at your own pace, working around jobs or work-from-home responsibilities. 
  • Online college programs are often less expensive than traditional brick-and-mortar colleges. 
  • Students who are caregivers or who have children are still able to pursue a degree without accruing additional costs for relief caregiving or childcare. 

Further, you can find degree options for popular and well-paying fields, such as one in Information Technology (IT) – from Network Operations and Security, to the much-needed Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. You will also find several options in the growing healthcare field, such as Health Information Management, as well as sought-after Marketing, Accounting, and Human Resources degrees.

Dream without debt

While there is no doubt that college debt is rising, don’t allow the headlines to dissuade you from pursuing a college degree and improving your odds for a brighter future. With savvy planning and other mindful decisions, you can reduce your expenses and the debt you incur while you get your college education.

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