WES Advisor Blog

Trusted Advice for Academic and Professional Success

How to Graduate with Little or No Debt

Thursday | October 20, 2016 | by Kaitlin Ramby

A jar of savings money

Attending college in the U.S. comes with many exciting opportunities; international students can learn in a new environment, meet new people, and gain new skills. However, college in the U.S. also comes with a big price tag. In fact, the average college student in the U.S. graduates with $30,000 in debt.

Fortunately, there are ways that international students can minimize the amount of debt they accumulate, whether through student loans or personal expenses. Read through the tips provided below on how to graduate from college with little or no debt.

Apply for as Much Aid as Possible

There are many sources of financial aid out there, you just have to find them and apply! See if your home country offers financial aid to students studying abroad or if your government is willing to cover part of your tuition fees like Saudi Arabia does for its citizens. You can also reach out to your program or university for any aid they may offer and research scholarships on websites such as Fastweb.com and Cappex.com.

Take Courses at a Community College

Taking basic courses that are easily transferable at a community college can help you save a lot of money on your degree. Tuition rates tend to be lower at community colleges and also provide an easier transition for international students into the U.S. education system. Try finding community colleges in the area where you are looking to study and check to see whether the course offerings there will fit the degree you want to pursue at a larger university.

Work During the School Year
Working while you attend school can help you earn enough to pay bills, personal expenses, or even school fees. Working allows you to meet new people, learn how to effectively manage your time, and if you work in your field of study, you can gain valuable experience for your career. See what work opportunities are available to you based on your visa, and speak with your university to ask about work programs or positions they may have for international students.

Maintain Good Grades

One thing you should never do while attending school in the U.S. is let your grades fall. Maintaining a certain GPA while attending university in the U.S. can make you eligible for scholarships, grants, and more. Nearly every university has financial programs that reward academic excellence, so do your research and see what earning good grades at your university can merit you.

Save, Save, Save!

Save as much money as you can before and during your studies in the U.S. If you’re working for a few years before applying to school, try putting a percentage of each paycheck into a savings account for your education. If your program is too rigorous for you to balance work while in school, try working during the summertime when you’re on a break so you have extra money for the school year. Remember that the more you can save before and during school, the lower your chances will be of accumulating debt.

We hope you find these tips helpful as you plan to earn your education in the U.S. Do you have any insights on how to graduate debt-free? Let us know in the comments!


Kaitlin Ramby

Kaitlin Ramby is the former Digital Content Producer and a Contributing Writer for World Education Services.