Student loans are all over the news and social media world right now.
Everybody wants to learn how they can get their student loan debt erased.
I prefer to be a little more proactive, rather than reactive, so we are going to discuss how you can avoid student loans altogether
These are things you cannot control.
I want to highlight them simply so you understand that avoiding student loans requires a lot of effort on your end.
Those who don’t have to work for it got lucky…so don’t hold it against them, as they are few and far between.
Have Awesome Parents
I believe they call this being “privileged,” although this terminology is often taken way out of context, and used offensively.
For some reason, people are quick to judge anybody that had their parents pay for college.
Sure, some people enjoy this luxury based on wealthy family members.
The overwhelming majority of parents work their butts off in order to pay for a part, or all, of their child’s college tuition.
If you were not fortunate enough to have your parents pay for your college, that is fine.
Now you have the opportunity to work hard in order to help your children avoid student loans!
Sometimes people die, and we get a large sum of money. If this happens, congratulations, you are lucky.
Win the Lottery
I included this as a joke!
Trying to win the lottery for any reason is a fool’s errand. Especially since study after study shows most lottery winners lose it all due to their poor financial habits.
The vast majority of us will not be lucky enough to avoid student loans through lucky means.
To avoid our student loans, we will need to work long, hard hours.
That is the way life is.
If you believe college is worth attending (a debate for another time), then you need to figure out a strategy and get to work!
Avoid Student Loans by Working
I tell everyone complaining about student loans that they should work their way through college.
It is amazing how many times this is met with whining from the other party.
“I didn’t have time.”
“College is too expensive, I can’t find a job to cover it.”
“I want to enjoy the college experience, not work through it.”
These are ALL choices. If you choose to accept one of these excuses and not work…you have no right to complain about having student loan debt.
If I am able to run a website, build an online community, host a podcast and YouTube channel, organize a local REI meetup, and volunteer, all while serving on active duty in the military…you CAN make it happen.
You just choose to manage your time poorly or party too frequently to find a job.
If working doesn’t pay 100% of your college tuition, it will certainly help you avoid some of your student loans!
Find a job with flexible hours or even drive for Uber when you aren’t in class.
There are a ton of creative ways to earn extra money while going to school.
Hell, my friend Hunter Gore started his own team as a real estate agent and investor while he is still a full-time student!
If you want to avoid student loans, you will find a way to work and pay your way through school.
Even better, you can utilize this strategy to earn extra money, even if you already have your college experience paid for through other means!
For some reason, people seem to place athletes under the “lucky” column.
Although I’m sure there is some luck involved in getting selected to play collegiate sports, there is most certainly much more hard work that went into practicing your sport, long before any lucky breaks came along. .
While receiving an athletic scholarship is definitely not a guaranteed path, it is achievable if you have a little talent and put in hours upon hours of hard work.
Athletes live very rigorous lifestyles in high school and work even harder to excel in collegiate sports.
The nice thing is that if you don’t succeed in receiving an athletic scholarship, you can still partake in the next two options!
Academic scholarships may not appear to be as “sexy” as athletic scholarships, but they are just as effective.
I have several friends who received full-ride scholarships due to their grade-point averages, and ACT/SAT scores!
As with athletic scholarships, this takes a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve. It may even require swallowing your pride and hiring a tutor in order to improve in your weaker subjects.
The nice thing about academic scholarships is that they come in all shapes and sizes. You can receive multiple small scholarships to help pay a portion of your tuition even if you don’t receive a full scholarship.
For this reason, academic scholarships are worth pursuing in addition to any and all of the other strategies!
Nonetheless, receiving an academic scholarship is doable with the right amount of studying and learning.
Join the Military to Avoid Student Loans
The best way to avoid student loans is by joining the military!
Luckily, most of you reading this already know that.
This option is even better than you may think.
While on active duty, service members are eligible for tuition assistance (TA). Tuition assistance can be utilized to pay for college tuition year over year while you are active duty.
I have completed an associate’s degree for free through the tuition assistance program. I also have friends who have earned their bachelor’s, master’s, and even doctorate degree through this program!
Everybody knows the GI Bill will cover a four-year degree plan with the exception of some expensive private schools.
It will also pay you an allowance for living expenses, which allows you to focus your energy on studying, rather than working to make ends meet.
Tuition assistance and the GI Bill can be used hand-in-hand. For example, if you earn a bachelor’s degree with TA, then you can work on your master’s degree with the GI Bill!
Usually, service members will complete four/five years on active duty, get out of the military, and utilize their GI Bill to finish their degree.
There is even a “college kicker” program that provides an extra $50,000 toward your living expenses while attending school. This kicker is very rarely given out, and unfortunately, it is not transferable to your dependents.
GI Bill Strategies
Most service members who stay in the military for ten or more years will transfer their GI bill benefits to their children/spouse.
Yes, that means you can use tuition assistance to earn your degree and then use the GI bill to pay for your children’s college! You can give 100% to one child or split it evenly among several children!
*Important* You should transfer at least 1% to a dependent when you reenlist for the second time. That way, you can readjust allocation at any time after you retire. Per the new order, if you fail to transfer the benefit before you reach 14 years of service, it is no longer transferable.
*Bonus* You can still receive academic scholarships, and the amount of money received towards tuition will be paid directly to you if the GI bill had already covered 100% of tuition costs. If you attend an expensive private college, the scholarship money will add to the amount of tuition already covered by the GI bill!
The icing on the Cake
The real benefit of utilizing the military to avoid student loans is the life experience.
After four years in the military, you will have learned a new profession, lived independently, been in leadership positions, attended leadership training, and maybe even traveled the world!
This puts you years ahead of your peers that have…gone to college.
The military will instill discipline, perspective, maturity, poise, and responsibility into your life, while also giving you the level head required to dominate in life.
I firmly believe the military is one of the best life decisions you can make out of high school. Eight years after high school you could have had a four-year career (and saved/invested intelligently), completed a college degree (with ZERO debt), and be more competitive for careers than your peers.
What do you think is the best way to avoid student loans? Comment down below!