How to help prevent student loan debt as Biden considers forgiveness options

NerdWallet Student Loan Cost
Posted at 6:30 AM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 06:30:05-04

CLEVELAND — Talks surrounding student loan forgiveness continue to heat up as the White House confirms President Biden is considering making it a reality. Though student loan forgiveness could now be linked to income. Biden’s press secretary says the president has looked at steps to help those making less than $125,000 a year.

But what can families do to help prevent debt in the meantime?

Bob Durham, chief scholarship officer at College Now Greater Cleveland, says finding affordable options is key. He added, “that would be trying to cut costs, if possible.”

According to Durham, cutting costs could mean opting for community college before transferring to a four-year college, living closer to campus or at home to cut down on commute and housing costs, and choosing the right meal plan can also help.

They can maybe take some of those savings and put it towards a payment plan to the school as opposed to taking out all the student loans," he said.

When it comes to scholarships, there are plenty of options and they’re not only for incoming freshmen.

There are scholarship opportunities out there for upperclassmen, for those students that are currently in school,” Durham explained. “They should keep looking for scholarships every year to see if they can cut those costs down every few thousand dollars and scholarships is a few thousand dollars less in debt.”

For those in high school, Durham suggests students start looking and applying for those scholarships early. He says the summer before senior year is prime time. So, even if it’s not time to apply, getting a feel for what’s available may help. Financial aid resources are also available.

Lastly, Durham urges families to consider payment plans.

“I don't think a lot of families look at that option, even if they can't do the whole balance. If they could do $250 a month or $100 a month, that could be $1,000, $2,000 less they would have to borrow during the course of the year.”

For information on Ohio grants and scholarships, click here.