Three Easy Ways to Reduce College Debt

November 30, 2007

With college expenses on the rise, along with the interest rates on student loans, many individuals are looking for ways to reduce college debt. From personal experience, I have come up with three easy ways to reduce college debt:

1. Pay Quarterly Interest

The availability of scholarships is declining; so many people are depending on student loans to get them through college. The student loans are a lifesaver, but eventually comes payback time. In anticipation of that dreaded day repayment begins, reduce your college debt by paying the quarterly interest on unsubsidized student loans.

Unlike subsidized student loans, the minute you cash the check, your loan starts accruing interest. While it may seem like no big deal at the time, it can really add up, especially if you are going to college for 4 or more years. If you pay the quarterly interest, you will only have to pay the interest on the original amount of the loan, saving you a substantial chunk or change.

2. Purchase and Sell Used Textbooks

You can also save a bunch of money if you purchase and sell used textbooks. Once you have to pay $200 for one book, this money saving idea is a no-brainer. For example, I have an English degree. However, I had to study a lot more than English to graduate. Even though I saved all of my English textbooks for future reference, what do I want with my math, science, and health books?

So, I am quite pleased to find used textbooks at the college book store or online. Many familiar online bookstores have a used textbook site. Still other sites are totally dedicated to selling used textbooks. Since you do not plan on keeping the book anyway, this practice can save you hundreds of precious educational dollars. Likewise, you can sell you books to the next student who wants to save wherever possible. Go used and save.

3. Attend College Locally

Finally, attend a local, or state, college or university and save thousands. If you are like my daughter, you already have an idea of where you want to get your post-secondary education. You have a specific goal in mind, and the local college does not have the resources you need. So you are looking at a college or university farther from home.

My advice, wait a couple of years. What! Yes, wait a couple of years to go to the college of your choice. All education programs require essentially the same core classes. You can save a lot by paying in-state tuition for the first couple of years. Also, local colleges often offer scholarships to entice students to keep their educational dollars within the community. Then, when it comes time to take your career related courses, you can follow the best opportunities.

Reducing college debt is as simple as one, two, and three:

1. Pay quarterly interest on student loans
2. Buy and sell used textbooks
3. Take your core classes at the state or local level. In-state tuition is much cheaper.

Do you have a great idea on how to reduce college debt? I would appreciate your input! 🙂



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8 Responses to Three Easy Ways to Reduce College Debt

  • Dion

    I wish I had come across this earlier, I could have really used it.. As it is, I ended up making a choice I wouldn’t have had I seen this! Sound advice.

  • financial hack

    Take the time before going to college to get as much college credit as possible…AP courses, attending a local jr college your senior year, etc. Can easily knock a full year off of college.

  • Joel

    Depending on your career choice there may be a governement debt foregiveness program. Teachers and nurses, careers our nation is in short supply of, can often have their federal loan foregiven after so many years on the job.
    Also, if you are in college, you could work for a company that offers tuition reimbursement. For example, I know many banks have flexible part time schedules for their tellers and offer decent tuition reimbursement. If you need to work while in school, why not work and have the employer pay your tuition. At my employer, you could work 20 hours a week, at $8/hour, and have tuition reimbused at $5000/year. That takes you from $160/week to $256/week because you chose your employer carefully.

  • Andy

    get some discount textbook or cheap textbook from internet. I got 2 textbooks from
    save me $200 from normal price

  • Terrence

    Go to the best University you can.

    Sounds odd I know, but its true. The best universities have more money, and can give the best financial Aid. Despite coming from a poor family, I left Princeton with very little debt because they have the best financial aid packages on the planet.

    The deal there has gotten even better. Now, NONE of their financial aid package comes as loans. That means you will leave the university with no loans.

    I believe going to a top University also had the benefit of allowing me to get a good job, which in turn allowed me to pay off all my debt in relatively short order.

  • CreditShack

    If you have the spare cash to pay uncapitalized accrued interest, you’d be somewhat better off using that money to pay educational expenses directly and borrow less — even if that means holding the cash to pay for tuition the following school year.

  • Jamie @ Surviving College Life

    I have some more tips to add to yours!

    1. Ask your professor if you can use an older edition of the textbook–there are usually only minor changes, and you can buy them for MUCH less.

    2. Take advantage of student discounts. You can get discounts on car insurance for good grades. Student travel websites offer discounted plane, train, and bus tickets. Your bookstore or companies like Dell and Apple offer discounts on computers, and you can also get discounted software. You can save SO much!

    3. Try to get a tuition discount from your college, and appeal your financial aid award if you have had some financial change for the worse since you filed for aid.

  • 10KPortfolio

    Good point about the textbooks. The second my semester is over I make sure those books are on Ebay. They usually sell for good money because the original price is so high. Ebay and other sites are also good spots to get cheap books.