Reducing Student Debt

One of the best ways to keep debt from student loans under control is to not incur them in the first place. Sounds simple. In many ways it is, but you have to know what is actually going on in college course pricing.

Buzz TodaySource: Wall Street Journal. Almost 88% of first-time, full time freshmen at private nonprofit colleges and universities received some type of grant in 2011, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

To understand how to reduce the amount of debt you incur you have to know how the college pricing actually works. Every college and university lists tuition costs, typically per semester credit hour someplace in their materials. If you search the WEB site hard enough you should be able to find the cost of tuition. If you cannot find it online you will need to ask when you talk to the university on the phone or in person.

It is important to ask the price of tuition per credit hour. The reason this is important is because individual courses and programs are different numbers of credit hours in length. It is also important to ask about credit hours instead of cost per course when comparing costs between two different colleges. Semester credit hour is the standard unit of measure in higher education.

Beware of the difference between quarter credit hours and semester credit hours. If you are quoted quarter hours you will need to convert the price to semester credit hours by dividing the price by .67 to get the equivalent cost for the standard semester credit hour.

Now here is where the reduction in debt comes in. The college or university will not offer a grant. You have to ask. When you ask, the place to start is with the question:

“What was the average value of the grants your institution awarded to incoming students last year?” They have the number but you have to ask.

For more information about grants, scholarships and other forms of financial aid go to where chapters in “Your Future is Calling” make information from each college and university available to you.

In the end, the message has to be for you to reduce your college debt. The best place to do that is at the beginning of the process, not at the end.