Stretching Student Finances: Three Ways You Can Make Every Financial Aid Dollar Count

The advertisements are everywhere telling you that even you could find financing to go to college. While it is true that it is easier now than ever to obtain financial aid to pay for school, what these ads will not tell you is that student loan debt can be a huge problem once you have finally graduated. Student loans come along with strict payback schedules and harsh penalties when not paid. Student loan relief can help, but is only a possibility in certain circumstances. The best way to avoid a heavy student debt once you graduate is to learn how to stretch every last financial aid dollar.

Take Advantage of Advance Enrollment Opportunities at Your School

Did you know that many colleges and universities charge penalties when students do not enroll in classes in a timely fashion? Advance enrollment is in place for good reason. This allows professors to plan in advance according to class size. And office personnel can focus on starting semester tasks instead of getting people enrolled. When you get that email or notice that it is time to enroll, it is best to go ahead and make plans ahead of time to save money.

Forget Charging Books If You Do Not Have To

Just about every college has its own bookstore on campus where students can get the textbooks they need for class. Well before your financial aid is disbursed by the college, most bookstores have a window of opportunity when you can charge your books and supplies at the beginning of each semester. When finances are tight, the ability to grab those pens and pencils, computer accessories, or notebooks can seem really nice. However, campus bookstores often have high markups for their inventory and you could end up paying way more for items you want than you normally would, leaving you with a steep bill when your aid does come in.

Skip On-Campus Housing

Living in a dormitory on campus may be ideal because you are in close proximity to not just class, but food, fitness centers, and everything else the average university offers. However, choosing to stay on campus can cost you, creating the need for more substantial student loans. Before you go ahead and opt in for student housing, be sure to check out prices for apartments or other living quarters nearby. 

The easiest way to keep your head above water when you graduate is to make sure you are a smart borrower while you are still in college. With seniors in 2012 holding debt as high as $39,000 and above, it is definitely a reminder to be careful with your own spending. After all, because you can get the loans to finance college it should not mean that your financial common sense goes out the window. Use these three tips to help you stretch you financial aid money further so you can borrow less in the long run.