#1: Get a jobIf you can swing it, you might consider getting a part-time job while you attend a school that will allow you to borrow a lot less in the long run. A good place to start is at your school. For example, think about doing some tutoring in the evenings or even working in the college library or IT desk. In addition, there are federal and statewide work study programs that could help you earn money to help pay for college, further reducing the amount you need to borrow.
#2: Only borrow what you needGetting awarded more money than you need can make it tempting to use those funds for extracurricular stuff. Be strong and try to resist, borrowing only what you need to pay for your tuition and necessities. Borrowing more than you need could end up costing you more in the long run.
#3: Get a scholarshipWondering how to pay for college without loans? Today, there are literally thousands of different scholarships available that are basically “free money” for students willing to seek them out and apply. If you're not familiar, a scholarship is a sum of money that is awarded to students to help them pay for school. They're different than loans in that you don't need to pay them back. Moreover, they're free. So, look into applying for scholarships before borrowing.
#4: Knock out your prerequisites at the community collegeGet your prerequisite classes out of the way and save yourself a ton of money. As an added bonus, SAT and ACT scores aren't required to get into community college, making it easier to check these courses off of your list. By taking this route, you can save yourself a bundle by not having to borrow more money than you need.
#5: Choose federal loans
How do student loans work? When it comes to student loans, it might be best to go with federal loans rather than private loans. Why? Because when you take out a federal loan, you'll get a fixed interest rate that won't fluctuate compared to private loans. In addition, federal loans may be able to offer you a variety of repayment options including forbearance and deferment (should you need it).