How To Pay For College College is expensive, but there are ways to make it more affordable. We talk to experts to find out how to save before you even apply for school, how to survive and thrive in college when you're paying your own way, and how to navigate an affordable path to wipe out student loan debt after you graduate.
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How To Pay For College

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College is expensive, but there are ways to make it more affordable. We talk to experts to find out how to save before you even apply for school, how to survive and thrive in college when you're paying your own way, and how to navigate an affordable path to wipe out student loan debt after you graduate.

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Paying For College: What To Know Before You Go

Don't let college anxiety rush you into a financial mistake that could haunt you for years. This Life Kit episode lays out the do's and don'ts of paying for college so that you don't have to mortgage your future before you get there.
Here's what to remember:
- Consider attending community college before transferring to a more expensive four-year school.
- Don't let a school's high price deter you — you may only have to pay a fraction of the advertised price.
- The FAFSA form is the gatekeeper to most student financial aid, so don't put it off.
- Find free money, from federal Pell Grants to college-based aid to scholarships for left-handed tuba players.
- If you or your parents have to borrow beyond federal student lending limits, the degree might not be worth the debt.
- Relax! You don't have to attend an elite school to be happy.

Paying For College: What To Know Before You Go

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Shannon Wright for NPR

How To Survive College When You're Paying Your Own Way

You've taken the leap and enrolled in college! But money issues don't end when you accept your financial aid. Paying your way through school can be stressful, but lots of folks have made it work and they have advice for how you, too, can navigate your years in college.
Here's what to remember:
- Find out what resources your college offers for students — you may have to do some digging.
- It's OK to get a job, but try to find one that's related to what you want to do.
- Make a budget. And don't miss out on free food!
- When being thrifty isn't enough and you have no more hours for a job, talk to the financial aid office about taking out small federal loans.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help.
- Take care of yourself. You've made it to college: You belong there!

How To Survive College When You're Paying Your Own Way

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Pay Off Student Loans The Smart Way

Paying off student loans can be a financial nightmare. But if you know how to navigate the system, you can find a payment plan that's more affordable. Plus, if you qualify for loan forgiveness, you might get tens of thousands of dollars of debt wiped out.
Here's what to remember:
- Download a list of all your federal loans.
- If you get an income-driven repayment plan, stay in it!
- Don't trust your loan servicer. Do the research, find your payment plan and get it in writing.
- Take a personal day or make a date with a friend to tackle student-loan paperwork.
- Consider a full frontal assault on your loans to pay them down quickly.
- Loan consolidation or refinancing might make sense for you, but might also lead to financial disaster.

Pay Off Student Loans The Smart Way

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Introduction: How To Pay For College

More than half of college students are paying for school on their own. As the cost of a four-year education soars, we talk to experts to find the best ways to manage college expenses at every step — from application to enrollment to graduation and beyond.

Introduction: How To Pay For College

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