College is just one path that a person can take in their life, but it’s an expensive option. The amount of outstanding U.S. student loan debt reached an all time high at the end of 2020—it stands at $1.7 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve, and the national student loan debt that the average person has is over $39,000. Fortunately, there are many ways to pay for college!
Mindy and Rishika spoke with The College Investor expert, Robert Farrington, about what options are out there when students consider how to pay for college. Robert suggests that students check out potential salaries for their dream jobs on GlassDoor.com to see if taking on student debt seems worth it, or if there are other options to get a great education without taking on tens of thousands of dollars of debt. He also gives his insight into how important the FAFSA is. He recommends looking into scholarship opportunities (the best way to pay for school without accumulating student loan debt) and has great tips for how to increase your odds for getting competitive grants and scholarships. Robert advises students to research scholarships on Bold.org, Fastweb.com, and Scholarships.com. He also notes that there are often local scholarship opportunities available through churches, charities, women’s/men’s groups, rotary clubs, parents’ workplaces, or unions that parents belong to. In his words, applying for scholarships “takes time, effort, writing essays. Finding them is like another half the battle, right? And so if you spend the time, just like you would a job, you can basically pay for your college.”
Robert also discusses the ways that students can get their student loans forgiven, either through public service loan forgiveness or state-based loan forgiveness options for certain careers or other local incentives. There are tons of ways to make it through college without sacrificing your future financial security, and we encourage students considering college to talk with your parents and think through your financial options after you listen to Robert’s excellent tips on how to pay for your degree!
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™. He founded The College Investor, a resource for helping millennials get out of student loan debt and start building real wealth for their future.