Start early with a part-time job in college
Earning money while attending college is one way to be proactive about keeping college debt in check, says Charles Sachs, a principal at Private Wealth Counsel in Miami. He says it's a win-win because "getting a paid position while still in school generates some money that offsets loans and builds invaluable industry-specific knowledge."
If a student can manage to put away $1,000 a month, "that's $12,000 (a year) less in student loans and not having to take that money out in loans -- a big savings," Shearer says.
Working part time while attending college can also strengthen a student's ability, Shearer says. It develops discipline, provides real-world experience and earns income to lower future debt obligations, he adds.