Debt should be avoided at all costs, says Raza Khan,
president and co-founder of MyRichUncle. But when you need
to borrow, you should shop around for the lowest rate possible.
6. Lock in tuition
Can't stand the way college tuition keeps shooting up? Consider locking
in a single tuition rate for four years.
The tuition rate you pay as a wet-behind-the-ears
freshman is guaranteed until you graduate. No more losing sleep
over skyrocketing tuition costs.
Colleges with locked-in tuition programs include Anna
Maria College in Paxton, Mass.; Baylor University in Waco, Texas;
Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport, La.; Concordia University
in River Forest, Ill.; Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas;
Huntington College in Huntington, Ind.; Urbana University in Urbana,
Ohio; the University of Charleston in Charleston, W.Va.; and New
York's Pace University.
Some schools offer guaranteed-tuition programs for
free. Others charge fees. Be sure to check.
7. Work off debt with community
Got your degree? Why not do some good and wipe out a big chunk of
education debt at the same time?
Recent college grads can cancel part or all of their
federal-education debt by working in public-service jobs -- lower-paying
professional jobs that serve low-income communities -- or by volunteering.
Loan-forgiveness programs are available to everyone
from teachers to nurses to young doctors and lawyers to Peace Corps
Teachers who work in low-income elementary or secondary
schools may be able to cancel as much as $5,000 of their federal
Stafford loan debt.
Health Service Corps offers loan-forgiveness programs to physicians,
nurse practitioners, physician assistants, midwives, dentists, dental
hygienists, psychologists and therapists who work for two years
in communities in great need of health professionals.
Similar programs are available to attorneys who pursue
public interest careers. About 50 law schools offer loan-forgiveness
or loan-repayment assistance programs. The National
Association of Public Interest Law has a list of the schools
on its Web site. The site also lists state and employer loan-repayment-assistance
Several volunteer organizations also provide assistance
with student loan debt.
Corps volunteers who complete a two-year term can wipe out 30
percent of their Perkins loans' balance. Student loan payments may
also be deferred while serving in the Peace Corps.
Members of Americorps
in Service to America receive educational awards of $4,725 for
each year of service. These awards can be applied to student loans
or future education expenses.