Could you borrow less for college?

It’s something to think about. I recently advocated for taking a look at your personal expenses to see if you could cut your monthly bills.

As the end of this semester approaches, you may want to consider taking a look at your school-related expenses to see if you can realize some savings.

At my alma mater, students graduate with some of the highest levels of debt in the country, unfortunately. However, in the last few years, the three major universities in my state have created financial counseling programs that officials say are helping reduce student borrowing. It seems to be working, as a recent national study showed an $845 drop in the amount owed by the average 2011 Iowa college graduate. Check out this article, which tells more of the story.

In the article they mention an important point to keep in mind when borrowing for college: just because you can borrow a certain amount, doesn’t mean you should. We’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again—borrow only what you need for college, no more.

And that brings me to my suggestion to take a look at your school-related expenses. Is everything you’re paying for right now a “need?” For example, are you using your meal plan to its fullest extent? If not, you may want to make some type of switch next semester to save some money.

How about your living arrangements? Could you consider any place less-costly? If you’re considering moving off-campus, do the math first to see if it’s cheaper than on-campus housing.

Do you have a car at school? Consider whether parking and gas costs are eating into your budget. Maybe you could live without it.

When you add up all these types of expenses, making a few changes could end up saving you a significant amount, especially when you multiply it over the course of several semesters and consider the interest it would have gathered in repayment.

About Caroline Hanson

Caroline is a communications consultant for Wells Fargo Education Financial Services. Although she has been known to forget her own ZIP code, she has memorized the lyrics to every bad 1970s pop song ever written. Unfortunately, she also loves karaoke. Caroline spends her spare time at Target®. She also likes biking slowly and has participated in RAGBRAI. Caroline is a graduate of Iowa State University and has worked in journalism and public relations for the past 14 years. She lives in Iowa with her husband and has a 19-year-old stepdaughter and 2-year-old son.
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