Ways to minimize student loan debt

You are finally looking forward to the future and working for the things you have always wanted. You are out of high school, enrolled in your dream university and are ready to move into your dorm. Suddenly, you are facing a big question: How are you going to pay for all this?

Excessive student loan debt is a major reason that Americans end up in financial trouble. If your salary does not match your student loan payments, you could be looking at an unsure future despite all your hard work. While bankruptcy rarely discharges student loans, there are other ways to negotiate rates and payments and save money in the long run.

Apply for financial aid and scholarships -FAFSA deadline is June 30

The federal government offers grants and loans to help you get through college, but you will never benefit if you do not apply. Some students miss applying because they do not think they are eligible for a grant and are pleasantly surprised when the application comes back. Grants are money you do not have to pay back that you may receive for school.

Most colleges offer thousands of scholarships big and small. There are times where scholarships remain unused because there are no applicants. Check with your university's scholarship or financial aid office for a list of scholarships. Do not be afraid to apply for all that are applicable to you. Every small amount helps and is one less dollar you must borrow.

Only borrow what you need

When you get a letter from the government with the option of borrowing thousands of dollars for school, it is tempting to take it all. Do not forget that you must pay this money back eventually, even if you defer interest while you are in college. It may seem like graduation is forever away, but it comes faster than you realize in terms of paying off your student loans.

Talk to a professional

Many Americans end up with overwhelming debt. Although student loans and bankruptcy come with limited options, meeting with an attorney when you are in over your head may provide you with more options. For example, bankruptcy may help you reduce overall monthly debt payments, or eliminate some debt entirely, that can make student loan payments more affordable. 

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