Avoid costly mistakes when picking a college

(CREDIT.COM) – It was big news when outstanding student loan debt surpassed credit card debt and then later exceeded $1 trillion for the first time. That shocking statistic keeps climbing, with no sign of slowing down: Americans now have more than $1.4 trillion in unpaid education debt, according to the Federal Reserve.

Meanwhile, college-bound kids and their families try to avoid going into debt by heeding advice like “save more,” “apply for scholarships” or “go to a cheaper school.” Of course, none of those address the major issue of rising costs that have far outpaced wage growth.

It’s smart to avoid student loan debt if you can, because those loans affect your credit and your financial future. (You can see how much by checking your free credit scores on Credit.com.)

However, strategically choosing a school isn’t quite as straightforward as comparing tuition and fees.

One thing you can do is check out an institution’s net price calculator, which should be on its website, to see how much a student like you would pay after grants and scholarships.

 

Another thing you can do is look at how much student loan debt recent grads ended up with. (You can read more about options for repaying your student loans here.)

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