Going to college is a dream come true for many. On the other hand, having a student loan debt isn't something people like to have.
According to the Student Loan Debt Statistics for 2018, there are at least 44 million borrowers who owe collectively $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. That's trillion with a T.
The average student loan borrower has around $37,000 in student loans. That's a lot of money.
Believe it or not, there are ways you can do to minimize or pay off student loans while in school.
21 Ways to Minimize Student Loan Debt Fast (While in School)
Here are some tips to reduce your loan debt while you are still in school. No sooner you act, the less you'll pay in student loans. This post is categorized by these sections:
- Ways to earn money while in school
- Before heading to college
- While in college
- Simple adjustments to help you manage your finances
Let's jump in. Here we go.
Ways to earn money while in school
Here are some ways you can earn extra money while you are in school to pay student loan of yours.
1. Spend your breaks wisely by taking online paid surveys
How to reduce and pay student loan? The easiest way is probably to answer paid online surveys.
I know it may seem like you won’t be earning a lot. But, you might actually be surprised at how much you can potentially earn from it.
Nowadays, almost everyone tends to share their thoughts about almost and everything. So, why not get paid while you’re at it? Come to think of it, that’s easy money for sure.
One favorite of mine recently is Survey Junkie – don't be scared of the word.
Survey Junkie matches your profile to surveys that you are qualified to answer. You can take the surveys while waiting for your next class or whenever you have a spare time.
Tia, a survey taker, made it in 10 days when on break from taking care of her little kiddos. That's $615.56 for a few minutes every day (image below).
2. Use apps to ridiculously save money on everyday activities
When was the last time you used your phone to make money? If your answer is never, then, you are missing a lot of money on the table.
There are money-making apps for just about anything you do. Whether it's going to the gym, going to the stores, paying bills, etc., there are apps that will make you money.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Ibotta: Makes $400/year on groceries
- Swagbucks: Has made me $1,500 this year alone. Get $5 just for signing up.
- Mypoints: Gives me cash back for everything I buy online.
3. Take a part-time job
While taking a part-time job is probably the last thing on your to-do list, you might want to reconsider that thought.
Your student loan debts will not go away unless you start paying it off. Use your part-time job money to pay student loan of yours.
One way you can reduce your student loan debt is to take a part-time job. Be it may as wait tables, babysitting, being a barista, or an assistant. There are tons of options for you to choose from.
Some of the well-known part-time gigs you can do from home include:
- Shopkick: Gives me points (convertible to cash) for just stepping in my favorite stores
- DoorDash – get paid to deliver food to people. Drivers make an average of $25/hour.
- Survey Club – get paid to join focus groups. One made over $4,000 in a month.
4. Start a side hustle
College is stressful. As a student, you need to find ways to vent off some steam in order to stay sane.
One way you can do is to start blogging as a side hustle. You can write about your own experiences, your journey as you go through college, etc.
Sooner or later you can earn money by blogging. As a matter of fact, some bloggers earn as much as $175,000 per month.
I started blogging – this blog, two years ago. I don’t have a lot of money to fund my blog as much as I don’t have any experiences on how to run a blog.
But hey, look where I’m at right now. I now earn at least $20,000 per month and working only 5 hours per month.
You don’t have to be rich or experienced to run a profitable blog. All you just need is a strong will and $2.95 per month.
Blogging is virtually zero risk with high rewards. To put it to perspective, the cost is just a cup of coffee.
Before heading to college
You are more than likely to reduce your student loan debt fast or even pay off student loans while in school if you prepare well ahead of time. Some of these tips include the following:
5. Save up before going to college
Planning ahead can do no harm to you. There are numerous ways you can do to save money before entering college. You can wait tables, babysit kids, etc.
You also have to remember that there are no rules that you need to start college right after you finished high school. The more time to prepare for your education means lesser possible student debt you might incur.
You can also use this time to decide on what major you want to take on. Knowing what you really want will save you time in finishing your studies and eliminating unnecessary expenses.
6. Choose a college that suits your budget
There are a lot of things that you need to consider when choosing which college you want to get into.
Let’s say, a scholarship is out of the picture and you have a tight budget. Going to public college is more ideal, realistic, and cheaper.
Another budget-friendly option that you might want to consider, is to enter community college for two years before moving to a bigger college or university.
You need to consider your estimate total costs.
This does not only include tuition fees, but it also includes books, housing, transportation, meals. In short, your possible cost of living.
The last point I’d like to make is to consider if there are more options for you to earn money while studying. This can really help you a lot financially.
7. Apply for scholarships
If you’re academically good or on the top of the class or an athlete, then you might want to consider applying for a scholarship.
This is ideal especially if you’re applying at top universities considering how much tuition fee you need to spend.
Scholarship means lesser worry on your part on how to finance your education.
8. Take full advantage of other education funding resources
Look out for grants.
Basically, a grant is a free money that you don’t to pay back. It is closely similar to scholarships.
But grants are often given by government or universities or organizations for a special purpose, often need-based, such as study grant.
By filling out the FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid, before each academic year, so you will know what federal aid, grants, a federal loan, you qualify for.
Being able to utilize options like this gives you the power to avoid high student loan debt.
While in college
This is when your student loan debt will earn interest on top of interest on top of interest. You are more likely to pay off student loans by using the following ways:
9. Choose federal loans over private loans
While most loans are sponsored by the federal government, some are also being offered by private creditors. You can start learning about student loans.
For me, it is imperative to choose federal loans first over private loans because federal loans have lower interest rates compared to private loans.
Also, federal loans offer you a more flexible settlement option.
It is also vital for you as a student (who wants to pay student loan) to know what federal repayment plans are available to help you lower your standard monthly payment.
10. Take a student loan for only what you need
One way to pay student loan debt fast is by using loans for only what you need.
I mean I get it. It’s really tempting to be offered by a high maximum amount for a student loan. But by availing maximum student loanable amount, entails you paying your debt longer than what is really necessary.
Use your student loan for what is really intended – your education.
Don’t see loans available to you as a means to finance your wants. Be it for clothes, travel, or social events. Avoid it to reduce and minimize your debt.
11. Seek out opinion from other people
Managing your personal finances can be quite overwhelming especially for students about to enter college.
That’s why it is advisable that you speak to your parents, other college graduates, and your school’s financial aid office to help you set on the proper course and avoid you making any financial related mistakes.
Talking to your faculty advisor can also really help you a lot especially when it comes to learning how to pay off student loans debt fast.
Your advisor has a better understanding of what and when is the best time to take appropriate classes, considering all those prerequisite subjects that you need to complete.
Together with your faculty advisor, you can come up with a better game plan towards achieving your degree in no time.
Simple adjustments to help you manage your finances
These are some of the simple things you can do to help you manage your finances effectively. these could also help you either reduce your debt or pay off student loans of yours.
12. Stick to your budget
Budget is a must especially for those who are on a tight budget.
I know how we all love to reward ourselves for a job well done. I, myself included. But, that’s before. Now, I learned my lesson the hard way, to be honest.
Creating and sticking to your budget is very essential in getting out of your student loan debt fast. Why?
It’s because every month you will have an idea of how much is your “working budget”. A working budget includes your necessities.
You also need to add an “emergency budget”. This may not be an emergency, as in life and death emergency. But, other expenses that you are not able to foresee that is related to your studies.
13. Reduce unnecessary expenses
Avoid overspending your money, that is the easiest and most effective way to reduce or pay student loan of yours. This is, by far, the fastest way to pay off student loans.
I recently found a FREE bill slasher called Trim – a great solution for cutting your expenses without lifting a single finger.
Actually, Trim cut our Verizon phone bill by $16.75/mo even when it's still on contract. That's $201/year.
Aside from Trim, here are some ways you can reduce unnecessary expenses:
- Food: While studying, why not learn how to cook as well. There are a lot of sources where you can get simple, quick, and healthy recipes.
- Maximize college resources: It’s always good to ask around school personnel about what you can freely use & what will cost you.
- Transportation: Try to walk or bike for a healthier you or take a public transport. This will save you money from insurance, mortgage, gas, parking, registration, and a lot more.
14. Think twice before enrolling to classes
Your goal is to graduate and earn your degree, right?
It is very important that you are able to take up classes that are required for you to get your degree.
This is where your faculty advisor comes in, to help you choose what classes you need to take and when to take them.
If you still haven’t made up your mind on what you want to do after college, it would be better if you are to take general courses for the time being. That way, you can have a better view of the different fields that may interest you.
The point is, you need to have a clear and definite mindset on what and where you want to do and go to college. Not only does it will save you time, but you also get to save thousands of dollars.
15. Earn your degree on time. The earlier, the better
Taking full load classes per academic year may be too much of a burden for you. That said, it could actually be very strategic when it comes to helping you pay student loan of yours.
Earning your degree on time or earlier may actually save you thousands of dollars. Yes, you might miss out on most college parties and it means that you may need to put additional work and effort, academically.
But financially, it means money that you don’t possibly need to borrow any more. It also means no additional loans and incurring interests that you have to take on before you can actually start to pay off your student loan debt.
16. Re-assess existing student loan settlement plan before adding another loan
One way not to bury yourself in debt is to always consider how much of your student loan debt you need to pay every month.
While paying off your first loan may look easy to settle and manageable but once it starts piling up, you might realize you’re in a huge pile of student loan debt already.
Re-assess and re-evaluate your current student loan and check the possible total monthly settlement you will have.
Keep in mind the possible interest, terms and payment options when getting an additional student loan debt.
You also need to consider how much you can realistically earn after you graduate and see if you are still able to pay off some of your debts with your income.
17. Pay off some of your student loan debt ahead
Remember when I told you about working part-time and doing side hustles while still in school?
With your income, you can take advantage of some student loans option to pay the interest while you’re still in school. You can start paying off part of your debt with what you’re earning.
When you start working, some loans have settlement programs wherein you can limit your payment to a certain percentage of your income.
You can choose to reduce your monthly payments but your debt will increase instead of reducing.
Pay more than your minimum monthly payment. The more you pay towards your debt, the less interest you will acquire and the faster you will be out of debt.
That's one of the fastest ways to pay off student loans.
18. Be cautious of student loan refinancing options
When you think about refinancing your student loan debt, you should always consider how much money you are going to save.
Always check for refinancing options that have lower interest rates or lower standard monthly payments or will help you be debt-free quicker.
Keep in mind that refinancing your federal loan to a private consolidated loan may mean giving up your current repayment options and certain rights along with it.
Do your own research and consult with the experts so you can make an informed decision when you want to choose to refinance your student loan debt.
19. Understand when your student loan starts to acquire interest
Generally, federal loans don’t require you to start paying off your debt up to a certain time after leaving school. Although in some cases, interest starts accumulating already even when you are still in school.
Consider choosing federal-subsidized loans over unsubsidized ones.
Subsidized loans are being paid by the US Department of Education at least half-time while you are in school, during the grace period, and during a deferment period.
An unsubsidized loan is the opposite of the federally subsidized loans. For you, this means that you will be indebted for more than what you originally borrowed after you earned your degree.
20. Consider student loan debt forgiveness
For public service or non-profit organization, you need to pay at least 120 payments in order for you to qualify for 100% student loan forgiveness. That's the fastest way to pay off student loans.
For teachers with student debt loan, you need to be a full-time teacher for 5 whole and consecutive academic years in a low-income school or educational service agency.
Considering that you are able to meet other certain qualifications, you are qualified for as much as $17,500 student loan forgiveness.
21 Settle your student loan debt before considering graduate school
You might want to settle off your student loan debts first before taking further education.
I get it, grad school is enticing but jumping from one loan to another is really not a good move – financially.
One, your interest from your original loan will start to pile up.
Two, delaying settlement on your student loan will not make you any richer at the moment. Three, it will just be another amount that you need to pay sooner or later.
If you are financially capable to go into grad school and at the same time pay off your previous or existing student loan, then, by all means, do so. But if not, maybe at a later time.
22. Understand and keep track of your student loans and payments
While you and I both know how crazy expensive going to college is, taking on a student loan – whether federal or private – doesn’t end there.
Before signing on the dotted line, you have to fully understand how much you are borrowing, what the terms are, what is the interest rate, and how much do you need to pay after college.
These debts will not be going anywhere unless you pay it off completely. Trust me, I’ve been there. So, at some point, you will need to start dealing with it.
The longer time you take and delay your payment, the more accrual interest you might need to pay.
Getting into a big pile of student loan debt is something a lot of people don't want to do. Now, there are so many ways to pay student loan of yours or even reduce it without you having to do a lot.
Remember, it's always best to go to college or be in college with as little debt as possible. This way, you can focus on what's more important, that is, your studies.
What are you doing to reduce or pay off student loans fast while in school? Do you think it's possible to pay student loan easily?