How to Pay for College Without Loans — 14 Ways

So student loan debt got wiped out for millions of borrowers who’ve already left school, but what if you’re heading to college now? Should you take out loans?

Today, nearly half of all US adults who attended college say they left school with loans to repay. That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the average annual cost of college is more than $35,000. But although it may seem that college costs can only be covered with student loans, taking out a loan should be a last resort.

Even with student loan forgiveness now a reality for manythere are no guarantees about what this means for remaining federal student loans, or what will happen in the future. And even if more relief is on the horizon, there’s no reprieve expected for those holding $131 billion in private student loans.

If you’re headed to college, you don’t have to end up with a mountain of student loan debt. In fact, here’s how to pay for college without loans.

How to Pay for College Without Loans

  1. Start saving early with a 529.
  2. Fill out the FAFSA.
  3. Choose an affordable school.
  4. Negotiate with the college.
  5. Consider community college first.
  6. Earn college credits in high school.
  7. Apply for scholarships.
  8. Apply for state grants.
  9. Apply for private grants.
  10. Get tuition assistance from your employer.
  11. Work your way through school.
  12. Live off campus.
  13. Use military tuition assistance.
  14. Finish college in four years (or less).

1. Start Saving Early

A 529 college savings plan is a type of tax-advantaged investment account. These accounts come coupled with tax advantages and other types of incentives to make it easier to save for college degree or other types of higher education administered. The plans are either by a state or an educational institution .

The main advantage of 529 savings plans is that earnings are not subjected to federal tax, and they are usually not subject to state tax when they’re used for qualifying educational expenses.

2. Fill out the FAFSA

The next step is…

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