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5 Alternatives to Taking a Student Loan

George Simons | June 27, 2023

George Simons
Co-Founder of SoloSuit
George Simons, JD/MBA

George Simons is the co-founder and CEO of SoloSuit. He has helped Americans protect over $1 billion from predatory debt lawsuits. George graduated from BYU Law school in 2020 with a JD-MBA. In his spare time, George likes to cook, because he likes to eat.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Summary: Student debt can cause a crushing financial and emotional burden. Luckily, there are alternative ways to pay for your college education, such as grants and scholarships, income sharing, crowdfunding, work-study programs, and employer sponsorship. If you are already struggling with student debt, SoloSettle can help you settle your debts and move on with life.

Higher education in the US is a huge investment. It leaves many students grappling with enormous debt after graduation.

While there is no quick fix for the outrageous price of a degree, there are certain ways to work around it and avoid student loans. Some students take jobs and use write my essay services to deal with their college workload. Others use their savings or family support. Yet, aside from these, there are many other practical ways to cover the cost of your education. But before we move on to them, let’s discuss what student debt is and why it can be risky.

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Student debt can cause major financial burden

Student debt refers to money you borrow to pay for tuition, living, books, and other expenses related to your education. You can take a loan from the government or private sources like banks.

Considering the ever-rising price of a degree in the US, student loans have become a necessity for a lot of people. On average, a student of a public college borrows $31,410 to earn a bachelor’s degree, according to the Education Data Initiative. Nationwide, student loan debt reaches $1.75 trillion.

While student loans make education more accessible and allow people from an underprivileged family background to gain quality education and thus higher earning potential, they could also turn into a financial burden. It could force you to put your dreams on hold, like traveling, buying a house, or working for non-profits, until your financial obligations are fulfilled. Luckily, while student loans are the most popular option to pay for college, they’re not the only option. Here are five feasible alternatives to student loans.

Consider these 5 alternatives to student loans

Student debt got you down? Are you looking for other ways to pay for your education? Consider these five alternatives to taking out a student loan.

1. Grants and scholarships

Grants and scholarships are two of the most desired and powerful ways to cover the cost of your learning. Both are free forms of financial aid, which means you don’t need to repay them after graduation.

Unlike student loans, grants and scholarships are less accessible. You have to meet certain eligibility criteria to be able to apply for them. Grants are usually awarded based on financial need and consider your family income and background, tuition cost, and disability status.

In contrast, scholarships are mostly merit-based and require achievements in a particular discipline, athletics, or extracurricular activity. When you’re in the running for either a grant or scholarship, gear up for intense rivalry.

Below are some pros and cons of grants and scholarships:

Pros Cons
Grants and scholarships serve as gift assistance. They come with the luxury of non-repayment. To keep this kind of financial assistance, you need to meet certain stipulated requirements.
Getting more than one scholarship or grant is possible. Eligibility criteria may be limited and subjective.
Scholarships will look great on your resume. Competition is extremely high.

2. Income sharing

An emerging alternative to student loans is an income-sharing agreement. The idea is that you get money to go to college first and pay it back only when you graduate, land a job, and get a regular income. In a nutshell, an investor buys a percentage of a student’s future earnings for a certain period.

Usually, students can keep the first $20,000 and start paying back only after they’ve reached this particular income threshold. Besides, a borrower doesn’t need to be worried about losing a job as they can also stop paying the loan back. Upon securing a steady job again, they resume from where they halted.

Here are some pros and cons of income sharing:

Pros Cons
No barriers to entry. This method is still in its early stage.
You don’t need to have a minimum credit score. Most income sharing programs are not regulated.
You can wait until you have a regular income to pay back. It could take longer to pay off than other alternatives.

3. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a modern method of amassing funds to support your education or initiatives through digital platforms. It’s not a traditional method to pay for college, but it’s worth a shot.

To have a successful crowdfunding campaign, you need a strong personal network. Having a considerable online presence will be useful as well.

Start by selecting a reputable crowdfunding platform and determine your goal. Make sure you create a compelling campaign page and engage your community. You can also offer incentives to your donors.

Keep reading for pros and cons on crowdfunding.

Pros Cons
You don’t need to repay the raised funds. Success is uncertain. You may not reach your goal.
It’s a social tool that gives you exposure and networking opportunities. Running crowdfunding campaigns involves a substantial commitment of time and effort.

4. Work-study programs

A work-study program is a federal or state financial aid option that can help you fund your education. It allows students to take a part-time job and earn money to pay for school without loans. Such positions are usually campus-based, but there are off-campus options as well.

The benefit of work-study programs compared to an independent search for employment is that your college schedule is taken into account. Besides, you can use the best paper writing services to help you write essays and be prepared for classes. Homework help allows you to strike a better school-work balance and avoid excessive stress.

Note that work-study programs won’t cover all your educational expenses. They are not meant for high costs and help mostly with day-to-day spending.

Be aware of the pros and cons of work-study programs, such as:

Pros Cons
You get real hands-on work experience. Pay is usually low.
A program considers your college schedule. Balancing work and school can be stressful.

5. Employer sponsorship

If you want to pursue a degree relevant to your job and advance your skills, consider employer sponsorship. Some companies offer it as part of professional development opportunities. Employer sponsorships are particularly common in fast-moving fields like architecture, data science, education, etc.

If you want to pursue this method of financial aid, identify what you want to study and research the potential expenses. Then, reach out to your HR department and check a sponsorship policy. If applicable, write an official letter requesting sponsorship and follow up.

Check out these pros and cons of employer sponsorship programs:

Pros Cons
You get professional development and increased job security. You won’t be able to enjoy job mobility because of your commitment to the employer sponsor.
You don’t need to pay off the financial support. You get limited freedom in making educational choices.

Settle your student debt

If you are already struggling with student loan debt, you can find help. You may have debt collectors calling or sending letters constantly. SoloSuit can help you get rid of debt collectors and settle your student debts once and for all.

SoloSettle, powered by SoloSuit, can assist you with negotiating a debt settlement and repayment program. Our software sends and receives settlement offers until you reach an agreement with your lender or creditor. To learn more, check out this video:

Final thoughts

Figuring out how to pay for college is a challenge. Consider all your options with their strong and weak sides. We recommend using student loans only if you’ve exhausted all the other ways to cover your educational expenses.

Luckily, alternatives aren’t limited — from the most convenient grants and scholarships to various programs and sponsorships. With some research and in-advance preparation, you can cover all your educational needs without student debt.

And if you are already dealing with the burden of student debt, SoloSuit is here to help you respond to debt collectors before and during a lawsuit and settle your debts once and for all.

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