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Ainsley Schuler February 19, 2018

Gretchen Durbala, Kenzie Justice, Maryssa Soder and Madeline Wagner

With $1.48 trillion in collective student loan debt, it’s clear that American loan debt is out of control. We want to share with you some ways to reduce debt and to pay off what you already owe a little faster.

So how did student loans get so out of hand? According to Robin Gregory, faculty of Longwood University, student loan debt has risen an extra $15,000 in the last twenty years due to prices in tuition rising. Gregory also states that students trying to get out of college faster take out extra loans to pay for extra classes. This leads to the other problem of students spending their extra loan money on things other than tuition, housing or books. It’s important to be aware and proactive of taking responsibility of your student debt. We’ve included five easy steps to reduce your student loans and put you on the fast track to getting rid of them all together.

Don’t fall into life style inflation and start buying things that you don’t need or won’t actually use. You can make some easy changes to your life like buying the Kraft Dinner Mac and Cheese instead of the more expensive Kraft Deluxe Mac and Cheese, or maybe Ramen Noodles instead of a box of Spaghetti. Throwing away your money on clothes and food is easy, but if you are over thinking the issue too much, or second guessing your purchase, you don’t need it.

Changing where you live might be a little bit of work, but if it’s cheaper it saves you more money that can go into paying off your loans. Where you choose to live has a huge impact on your long term financial success. A cheaper place can mean spending less money and achieving your goals faster, which is what we are trying to do here, pay off our student loans faster. Even living with roommates to help cover the expenses will help you or if you are able live at home, because that is by far the cheapest option. Whether or not it’s closer or farther from campus shouldn’t matter, because that tip is next.

Many college students save money by walking or riding a bike to school. You don’t have to pay for gas or feel obligated to give anyone rides. If it’s cold you can bundle up a little extra and put some hand warmers in your gloves and socks. This is also a great opportunity for you to exercise if you don’t have time in your regular schedule to work out. This way of transportation is also much healthier for the environment. We know not everyone lives in town with their campus, but if you do your bike or your feet are your cheapest ways to go.

Keeping your own record of how much you’re borrowing from the bank is also a great idea to help save money. According to Tami Larimore, Vice President at Security Savings Bank, many people don’t put their extra money back in towards their loans and that’s how they get stuck making different purchases with their extra money. Larimore also stated that students should start paying back their loans while they’re still in school, because it puts them on that fast track getting their loans payed off.

Last, but certainly not least, if you follow even just one of these steps you can put all of that extra money you are saving towards that monthly loan payment. This is huge as a college student because you’ve been making these little differences in your life that gives you extra money to pay off everything you owe.

The faster you get your student loans payed off the faster you can move on to living a more luxurious life. This tremendous burden lifts from your shoulders and you can spend all the money you no longer have to save for student loans on a newer car, Kraft’s Deluxe Mac and Cheese or maybe a bigger apartment. Living cheaper doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it’s a smart thing.