TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Chris McCarthy has been out of college now for close to five years. Like many, he’s still burdened with paying back college loans. Admittedly, it’s something he didn’t really worry about while he was in school.
“Would have been a good idea to start saving up, but no, I just started paying them off once I got out,” he says.
Billie Jo Hamilton with the University of South Florida says in her experience, that’s the mindset of a lot of college students.
“They kind of have to put together a plan,” she says.
One plan she suggests is called, “save a quarter, spend a quarter,” meaning saving 25 percent of what you think your education will cost before you’re in college and then spend a quarter of your earnings on it. A part time job could help with that.
“If they work about 15 hours a week they can come up with a fairly significant amount over their college enrollment,” says Hamilton.
Something that will make it harder to keep the debt low is taking that victory lap instead of graduating in four years.
“It’s $20,000 a year here at USF. So, if you have to go one more semester, every semester added is an extra $10,000 cost,” says Hamilton.
There are also several federal aid programs many students don’t realize they can apply and get accepted for.
She suggests to always apply for loans like FAFSA because you never know what qualifications you may have to get some free aid to help out with your loans.
Be sure to watch WFLA News Channel 8 from 4:30 to 7 a.m. during the month of August. Every morning, we’ll bring you a special back-to-school story to help you and your family prepare for the school year.
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- High school students have a different type of stress, which can lead to anxiety
- What parents can do to ease their child’s anxiety during middle school years
- How to tell if your kids are feeling anxious about the new school year
- The future of standardized testing for Tampa Bay area students
- Reaction mixed about uniform changes at Pete Davidsen Middle School
- Back to school: Here’s where to report cyber bullying
- Hillsborough parents asked to give input about proposed school bell schedule
- Plant High School teen on a mission to help raise awareness about suicide prevention
- See more Back-to-School stories in our special section on WFLA.com