How To Get Through College Without Taking Out Student Loans

By Gretchen Kernbach on July 26, 2016

Taking out student loans seems pretty inevitable when it comes to college. According to, “Student loan debt in the U.S. has reached about $1.2 trillion — including both federal and private student loans.”

The costs have risen over the years, making the four-year journey look harder and harder to achieve without debt. However, there are ways to get around loans and decrease your likelihood of coming out of school with a staggering amount of money liability.

AP/IB classes

Consider preparing for college in high school. That sounds pretty obvious, but by this I mean take AP or IB level courses.

According to

“These courses are much more academically demanding than standard fare high school classes, but the benefit of earning college credit while still in high school can’t be denied. A student who takes a few AP or IB courses a year can easily shave a year off their college attendance, which makes these courses worth several thousand dollars in college savings.”

Furthermore, just floating through the class with a C won’t get the job done. At the end of the year, both programs offer a final exam to students. College credit is given depending on their score. Therefore, a student could receive an A in an AP class, but a two on the AP exam does not earn them college credit.

Community college classes

Besides AP and IB courses, high school students can take a college class at their local community college.

According to

“By taking a class or two at the community college during two high school semesters, a student can eliminate one semester’s worth of general education requirements. If the student is transferring to a large university, this could net a savings of several thousand dollars.”

Simultaneously taking a college class while still in high school is doable. Some courses are even offered online which takes out the duty of physically attending the community college.

Grants and scholarships

Financial aid is usually the first to be considered when trying to avoid heavy payments towards college. These grants are offered by the state and federal governments. To learn more about the different types of aid offered, visit this link.

A given, consider applying for scholarships. And no, they are not all for playing sports. However, if you think you have the talent to play a sport in college, think about reaching out to coaches of the schools you want to attend.

Besides the classic sport scholarships, other factors can make you qualified. These include academics, culture, location, accomplishments, or community service. Check out these websites for a wide range of offered scholarships, courtesy of


Community college

Attending community college is also an effective way to dodge hefty student loans. If you want to go to a big school, start off at your local community college for two years and then transfer.

According to

“You may not get the same sense of campus life when you go to a community college — like you would at a big public university — but you will get an education in what’s usually a more student-oriented environment than at a traditional college. Then after two years, you can transfer to a traditional school and end up with only two years to pay for — instead of four.”

When you compare a regular university to a community one, the difference in tuition is thousands of dollars.

Part-time jobs/work-study

It might even be necessary to work during your four years, even if four turns into five. You can work full-time and be a student part-time, or vice versa. Either way whatever income you get can go towards paying for school instead of having to take out a loan.

Furthermore, you can also sign up for a work-study program.

According to, “students who quality for financial aid for college may also qualify for the Federal Work-Study Program. With the work-study program, students are given jobs (both on-campus and off-campus) that provide income that can be used to pay for college.”

Jobs offered in this program are matched up with students with relating majors. You are basically getting paid to train for the future, not to mention all the new opportunities that will arise from networking.


If you join the military the GI bill will cover all your expenses if you choose to attend a public university in the 10-year period after your service. The bill’s benefits also extend to private colleges, but the limit is $17,500 per year.

According to

“In addition, the military reimburses you for housing expenses while in college. To earn this benefit, you are required to have been on active duty for 90 days. There is often a stipulation that you served for three years and were honorably discharged.”

Getting through college without having to take out any student loans is tough, but doable. The key is to save money and time wherever and whenever you can. Even budgeting what you buy during your time in school will help in the long run.

Follow Uloop

Apply to Write for Uloop News

Join the Uloop News Team

Discuss This Article

Back to Top

Log In

Contact Us

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format

By clicking this button,
you agree to the terms of use

By clicking "Create Alert" I agree to the Uloop Terms of Use.

Image not available.

Add a Photo

Please select a photo to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format