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5 Ways to Reduce School Loans Before They Happen

The new school year has officially started and for many high school Juniors and Seniors that means it’s time to decide on which school to go to. In this post we’ll cover several ways that you can start planning now to be able to save tens of thousands of dollars over your college career. Post-secondary education is more expensive now than it ever has been before. The price of a good education is inflated to tens of thousands of dollars in some cases. And many believe that every penny is worth it.

These high prices come with an opportunity that makes it all possible: student loans. Student loans are a blessing and a curse. They allow you to pay for an education that will spring board you into a career, but at the same time, with prices as they are, they can put you into debt for 5 – 10 years at a time. And that can be very hard to pay off with an entry-level job.
Fortunately, you can avoid too much debt before they begin by implementing the following strategies before you even enter the college arena.

First, participate in concurrent enrollment. At many community colleges throughout the nation, you can take classes that count for both High School and College credit. These classes are often much cheaper than you would pay if you were just at college. Get some of those generals out of the way early and save yourself hundreds of dollars in your future tuition costs.

Second, start working as soon as you can. Get a job that you can work throughout your high school years. While you live under such luxury, i.e. your parents pay for everything, you can earn and save a lot of money now that you can put towards your college education. Keep a bit of money to spend on yourself (for food, clothes, and other hobbies), but try to save as much as you can while you aren’t forced to pay for much of anything. After just nine months of working 15 hours a week at $8 an hour, you can earn a gross total of $4,320. That’s equivalent to nearly two full-time semesters at an in-state college. Add on full-time work for the same wage over a summer and you wind up with a gross income of $8,160 on the year. Do that for two or three years before college and you take a significant chunk of debt out of your future. So when you can work, do it.

Third, take AP classes. Like concurrent enrollment, AP classes offer you the chance to earn college credit from High School classes. The curriculum is a bit more intense, but if you take and pass the AP test, you can earn instant credits for your college career. The only thing you to need to be sure of is that you check with the colleges you want to apply to in order to discover if they take the AP credits or not. Some are selective as to which classes they accept. What’s the point in paying for a test if you’re just going to have to take the class anyways right?

Fourth, when you do get into college, move to the state soon after graduation. Find someone to live with or live in an apartment early so you can declare residency there. In-state residents often pay much less on tuition (thousands less) than normal students. If you can declare your residency there, then you’ll immediately become benefactor to the benefits. Consider getting a full-time summer job there the summer you’re supposed to move in so you can try to hit minimum requirements for “time lived in-state.”

Fifth, in many schools, after you hit a minimum “full-time” requirement in credits, you can add more without paying an extra dime. Take advantage of those opportunities. Take more credits than the bare minimum so you can essentially get one or two classes free every semester.

Now many schools often cap the total number of credits you can take in a single semester to about 18. With special need and a compelling argument, e.g. great grades, you can sometimes get special permission to take 19-21, adding an extra free class to the list.

The only con of this style is that 12-15 hours is often more than enough class time and homework to keep you always busy. 18 credits of work are usually considered crazy, and anything past that is pure genius. Students who attempt this route will save more money in the long run, but they’ll be forced to put their nose to the grinder if they want to do well.

Sixth, claim free money. Grants and scholarships abound. Find them and apply. People will pay you to go to school.

Prepare for your freshman year intelligently. Earn money before coming. Move to the state early. Take extra credits. Get as many credits out of the way in high school that you can. Make a claim on the free money out there. Your final bill of debt may still be high, but it’ll be much less than those that didn’t prepare.

Tips on Paying for College

If you have recently applied for and gotten into college, congratulations! You are well on your way to becoming a college student and receiving a quality education.

After you have finished celebrating, however, you will probably sit down and wonder how you are going to pay for college. Colleges these days can be very, very expensive.

If you are decided that you are officially attending college, then you should begin planning how you’re going to pay for it now. The sooner you start planning, the more prepared and less stressed you will be about the whole situation.

One of the most important things you can do in this situation is to be honest with yourself. Take a good look at exactly how much money your education is going to cost.

From that figure, you will need to calculate how much money you will need to borrow in order to pay for all of your schooling. Figure out how much money that you already have or will be able to earn can be put toward paying for your schooling.

While you’re doing these calculations, it is important to think about debt in general. Do you want to be in debt when you graduate from college?

Some people do not have a choice. They do not have the option of paying for college themselves, or having their parents pay for it.

What people need to realize is that having a large amount of debt when they get out of school can be very overwhelming. It may seem like they will never pay it off, and they’ll never be able to live free of debt.

Many students take out lots of student loans without considering the consequences of this action. It is rather easy to get a student loan these days, and so students take them out flippantly. It’s also important to point out that it’s important to point out the right type of loan for you.

Paying for school is definitely one of those situation where a short term loan like a payday loan or cash advance doesn’t make sense financially. While short term loans can be used to get the money you need to pay for books before your financial aid comes in, it wont make sense over the long haul.

Students take out these loans without realizing that the date of their graduation is going to come, and they will have to pay off their loans. It’s easy to forget about the loans during the business and hectic nature of school.
Your student loan is probably not going to be on the forefront of your mind every time you wake up. However, as stated earlier, you will have to start thinking about loans sooner than you think.

And being prepared about paying off your loans will serve you better than being unprepared. A great tip for college students is to look for financial aid wherever you can.

There are tons of different opportunities for students to receive financial aid for college. Go to your school’s financial aid office and talk with an advisor there; they will be able to direct you to scholarships and financial aid options that fit with your situation.

Oftentimes, community centers, churches, and clubs offer scholarships or grants to students. It is up to you to take the initiative to go out and look for the scholarships and financial aid that are out there.

You can also find a number of scholarships and such online. You may have to dedicate a lot of time to looking, but the time you spend looking will be worth it.

The more personal information you provide while looking for scholarships, the more tailored the options you find will be for your situation. However, it is important to be careful when releasing your information to parties on the Internet.

Make sure you check out the website and person you are corresponding with before you give them any personal information. And make sure to never give your information out to any unrelated third party.

It is also a good hint to avoid sites or institutions that charge an application fee for scholarships. It may not seem like a big deal, but you can rack up quite a sum of money if you are applying for many scholarships that charge an application fee.

Try to think about what makes you unique. If you are particularly good at math and science, there will be scholarships out there related to those things.

If you are a star athlete, you can look into scholarships for your sport. And then there are scholarships for more random things, like being tall or being a vegetarian.

Think about what makes you unique and try to use it to your advantage to get a scholarship. It’s free money, right, so what could it hurt?

It may seem like a hassle now to spend so much time looking for a scholarship, but your post-graduation self will thank you.

$26,500 in Student Loans Paid Off in Just 2 Years

CNN recently wrote an article telling the story of a Brian McBride. Brian has lived the life of many Americans. He graduated High School, chose a major, took out a bunch of loans to finish school and finally graduated from Arizona State University in 2010. The only thing that makes him different from his peers is that just 2 years from graduating, he is completely debt free.

Coming out of college, Brian owed $26,500 in debt. $6,500 of that was for a car, the rest were student loans. He says that he initially feared paying off that debt for years to come, but after he did some number crunching and cut back on a lot of expenses, he was able to pay the car off in just 6 months, and finish off his student loans in the year and a half to follow. So, instead of paying off student loans into his late thirties, he’s 25, can pay all of his bills and feels a sense of freedom he hasn’t felt before. His peers tip their hats to him because he has accomplished the seemingly impossible. His strategy for doing so was quite remarkable. He learned to sacrifice for his goals.

He set a goal to pay off his car bills in just 6 months (before his student loans started coming in). He set a goal to pay $1,000 a month and realized that wasn’t possible on the budget he was living on. Brian cut down his expenses until he could afford to meet his goal. When he finished off the car, he was blessed with a higher paying job and set new goals. The result was a lot of cold winter nights, hot summer days and scraping mold off of older vegetables. His blessing was the sweet freedom that he experiences entering 2012.

He lived without certain luxuries—like heating during most of a Green Bay Winter, and staying in instead of going out to dinner. He disciplined himself and made his way to the top of financial liberty in just 2 years when most thought he couldn’t for at least 10. Would you like to get out of debt fast? Where can you sacrifice to get yourself out?

At Check City we are firm believers that when loans are used the proper way, great things can be accomplished.



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