College Students Graduating With the Least Debt

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Student loans are the only accessible source of financial support for many college students and parents. With college costs increasing disproportionately to the average income, taking out student loans can be inevitable when seeking higher education. While loans act as a financial bridge for students to receive more opportunities, the benefit can be temporary if not taken with caution.

Unlike scholarships, student loans are borrowed money that is expected to be repaid in a strict timeline. Failure to abide by these scheduled payments will affect your credit score and ability to invest in a house, car, or other vital necessities. Despite student loan debt reaching an all-time high at $1.7 trillion dollars across 44 million Americans, students are taking out larger loans than ever before.

Without a proper plan for student loan repayment upon graduation or even during school enrollment, depending on the source of the loan (federal loans vs. private loans), taking on so much debt is not the best idea. Although student loans can sometimes be the only dependable option, they should never be the first place to look.

Your education is as important as obtaining financial stability, so it should not be prioritized over your well-being. You can use many strategies to graduate college with the least debt possible, including which school you attend.

Bold.org is a great resource for graduate and undergraduate students seeking financial support. The website is constantly updated with new scholarship opportunities every day, giving thousands of dollars that can be applied toward school expenses. With the inclusion of various criteria, there is a scholarship for all at Bold.org. Apply today to be one step closer to graduating with the least debt.

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Is College Worth the Investment?

The debt side of the ledger may paint a disheartening picture of college for high school students applying. Still, the economic reality remains for the overwhelming majority of students: college is worth the investment.

In addition to the knowledge, skills, and life experiences attending college provides students, the economic gains are stark. A college degree often leads to better job opportunities and more financial growth. Particularly, your income will exponentially increase the more educated you are.

Beyond professional means, college provides many opportunities for personal growth as well. The independence that comes with managing your schedule gives rise to more accountability, social awareness, and a greater emotional perspective.

While the benefits of attending college are endless, it does not mean that you should sacrifice everything to go. It is crucial that you research all available routes to find which college will be most affordable for you.

Differentiating Between Tuition Price & Tuition Cost

The media has the propensity to frame the conversation regarding college costs as black and white. Without accounting for the expansive readily available resources, many paint the picture that obtaining a degree will cost an arm and a leg regardless of where you attend college. Fortunately, that could not be farther from the truth in some cases.

For example, the current published tuition at Princeton University is $47,140, and with the room and board expenses, the total cost of attendance is sixty thousand dollars a year. The conversation usually ends there, discouraging fewer prospective students the chance to even think about applying. However, digging deeper, you will discover that the average grant offered for students, part of the class of 2021, was $50,600 with low average debt.

Average grants cover 100% of tuition, and 60% of students qualify for student aid at Princeton. Lastly, 82% of graduates of Princeton University graduate debt-free thanks to a robust $23 billion endowment fund.

Although this number does not guarantee a similar financial aid package, it shows many institutions, like Princeton, are committed to aiding their students. It is important to note that these rates can fluctuate depending on if they are international students.

Check out these graduate student scholarships to reduce the costs of your grad studies!

Graduation Metrics for College Students

Colleges have to keep track of their graduation rates for a program to be eligible for student loans. For a student to qualify for having completed the program, they must graduate and fulfill the degree within the prescribed time. Typically, this is four years for most undergraduate programs.

At Thomas Aquinas College, 85% of the student body relied on financial aid. To motivate students to finish their required schooling on time, they incentivized them by reducing $25,000 worth of debt to $17,000. This incentive provided more financial comfort for students who took financial aid and made paying off debt much easier.

When students graduate with lower amounts of debt, they are more likely to continue to receive graduate degrees or jump into the workforce with financial stability.

Most Favorable College to Avoid Student Debt

This year, Berea College was the top institution with the lowest average student loan debt. On average, 65% of students take on student loans to finance their college education. Student loans netted an average of $7,062 for graduates combining generous student aid with a tuition-free admissions policy. Students studying at Berea College are typically left to pay for remaining college expenses and room-and-board costs.

Like Berea College, many institutions worldwide are motivated to combat student loan debt, including Brigham Young University and California State University.

When searching for colleges to apply to, it is important to break out of your comfort zone and look for opportunities in unexpected places. Comparing different financial resources between various colleges before settling on one is suggested.

Top 10 Colleges Where Students Accumulate the Least Debt

Below you will find a comprehensive list of the top ten varieties of colleges and universities from around the country with the lowest amount of debt rates.

1. Berea College

College Graduates with Debt: 65%

Average Student Debt: $7,062

2. Princeton University

College Graduates with Debt: 18%

Average Student Debt: $8,908

3. Wellesley College

College Graduates with Debt: 48%

Average Student Debt: $13,415

4. Yale University

College Graduates with Debt: 14%

Average Student Debt: $13,625

5. Brigham Young University Provo

College Graduates with Debt: 26%

Average Student Debt: $15,158

6. Williams College

College Graduates with Debt: 43%

Average Student Debt: $15,496

7. University of Texas, Arlington

College Graduates with Debt: 83%

Average Student Debt: $15,559

8. New College of Florida

College Graduates with Debt: 35%

Average Student Debt: $16,577

9. Harvard University

College Graduates with Debt: 23%

Average Student Debt: $16,702

10. Thomas Aquinas College

College Graduates with Debt: 85%

Average Student Debt: $16,986

Additional Financial Aid Resources

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