After a six-year college career and $30,000 in student loan debt, Brad from Lincoln finally has his teaching degree – but there’s a problem. He can’t afford to be a teacher. Not with a $400 a month student loan payment on top of his other expenses.

Brad, who now works construction to earn a living, had to rely on student loans to finance much of his education. As he looks back, he sees how he could have ended up with less debt. Follow his advice to avoid a similar situation:

  • Carefully research your college to make sure it’s a good fit. Brad transferred to three different schools adding two additional years of school and loan debt.
  • Compare your future estimated salary to your estimated college debt. Use Reality Check to get an idea of future earnings and monthly bills.
  • Work while you go to college and use that money to pay living expenses.
  • Use your student loan money only for tuition, books and fees.
  • Keep track of your student loan debt throughout college at nslds.ed.gov (use your FSA ID to access your data). Brad didn’t realize how much he had accumulated until his senior year of college.