- Scholarships and Grants- Don’t only look for one or two big offers, apply for smaller awards too. Some may only offer a few hundred dollars, but that’s money you won’t have to pay back later. Every little bit helps, and it all adds up.
- Work- Part time or full time, but make sure you study enough to pass your classes. Look into work-study programs, campus jobs, and your target field. Unpaid internships won’t help reduce your debt, but they’re a good way to gain relevant experience. When in doubt, go with the job that pays.
- Tuition Costs- Community college might become free, assuming the politicians and taxpayers can work it out. Either way, it’s a means to complete core requirements at a lower cost. In-state schools are much cheaper than out-of-state. When it ends up on your resume, an undergraduate degree is an undergraduate degree.
- Living Expenses- Don’t live beyond your means. If you’re reading this, I assume no one else is paying for your education. Every dollar you borrow might be two dollars you have to repay in a few years. Compare dorm-room and board costs with an apartment. Don’t go out for dinner and drinks and DUI tickets every night.
Bonus: If you’re really committed, don’t buy textbooks unless absolutely necessary. It’s possible to get decent grades in upper-level classes by attending lectures, taking notes, and not buying the books. However, this tactic is not for the faint of heart.