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Graduating College Debt Free

I began college in the fall of 2017 with one goal in the back of my head: no loans. My sister had recently graduated from college with $40,000 in debt and with a degree she wasn’t really using. I did not want to get myself into the red at such a young age and here is how I did it in order to keep myself free from any student loan. Moreover, also helped me by giving me some best tips that I have listed in this article that you can also follow in order to keep your college life fun and free from student loans and debts.

Rooming at home

Room and board fees were more expensive than the actual tuition fees in my area, so I opted to live at home with Mom and Dad.

Start off at community college

I began taking classes in my home town at Kodiak College. Kodiak College is actually a branch campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage so any class completed here was technically completed at UAA. I didn’t have to worry about pesky transfer credits.

Distance education

There weren’t a lot of classes I could take at Kodiak College, so I looked into what was offered via distance education. There were lots of courses offered in various formats and times to fit my busy schedule.


Textbooks can be expensive…or they can be cheap. I bought most of my books used from Oh, and why bother buying the latest version when you could buy the version that came out four years ago for $0.99? The only difference may be a paragraph or two and I never had a teacher bat an eyelash at my older books. (When in doubt, you can always check with the teacher before buying an older version.) If you can’t find them there, consider renting them from!

Work, work, work!

I was working two jobs while going to school full time. I’ll be honest, it was brutal. I worked at an elementary school from 7 a.m. – 12 p.m. and at a picture framing gallery from 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. Since I went to a community college, most of the courses were offered in the evenings to cater for the working class like myself. My classes were from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Side jobs

I took up dozens of house-sitting while in college. Some people just needed someone to live in their house, feed their goldfish, and make sure their pipes didn’t freeze over winter. It was easy extra cash and they often left you a fridge full of free food!

National Student Exchange

Most major campuses participate in the National Student Exchange. I wanted to attend college out of state for a year just to get the experience of a “real” university, so I applied and was accepted (wasn’t that difficult, believe me). What this program allows is for me to attend a school of my choice for A) my home school’s tuition rate, or B) my host school’s in-state tuition rate. Option A was cheaper so I attended the University of Hawai’i Hilo for less than $2,000 a semester! I found a cheap place to myself off Craigslist for $300/month and got a job at a local restaurant.

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