15 Easy Scholarships to Enter in 2020 (even your dog could do it!)

Easy ScholarshipsWhat characterizes “easy scholarships” or “no essay scholarships” other than the obvious fact that it requires minimal application process and is open to a diverse group? For those pressed on time, easy scholarships are a sensible choice. Scholarships already help provide tuition assistance for college or grad school, but easy scholarships go beyond to make this process even simpler. Also, don’t let a low GPA scare you away from applying as these scholarships don’t look at your grades.  Hopefully, the process will be gratifying, and that you will have a good chance at winning easy scholarships.  Here’s our list below (hopefully your dog can type- albeit not that much!)

Our list of 2020 Easy Scholarships:

1)  Because College is Expensive Scholarship

Are you a United States citizen and a high school junior or senior, college undergrad, or grad student? Then you can win $500. Nope, no other qualifications. Just be what you already are.

The $500 “Because College is Expensive Scholarship” is open to all students and those planning on enrolling within 24 months. The winner will be determined by random drawing monthly and then contacted directly and announced on the Scholarship Winners page. One entry per person is all that is necessary.

It truly doesn’t get easier than that.

2. The ScholarshipPoints $10,000 Scholarship

This $10,000 Scholarship does not require a GPA or an essay, Great thing is it takes about 2 minutes to enter.

The nice thing about the Scholarship is that it’s quarterly and you can apply every quarter.

And the application is as easy as can be. In fact, you could have filled it out probably 10 times already since starting to read this blog. If you’re a current or incoming college student and know basic information about yourself (name, address, etc.), then you can win $10,000. Winners are drawn at random.

3. $1,000 You Deserve it Scholarship

The You Deserve It Scholarship is one one of the tops when it comes to easy scholarships. When you create an account, you will automatically have a single application submitted on your behalf to apply to enter the monthly Scholarship. As a bonus, without any further effort,  you can apply to hundreds more  scholarships automatically.

4. $1,000 Easy Money Scholarship

The Cappex $1,000 Easy Money Scholarship  is a no brainer and offered every month! There is no GPA requirement and no essay to write.  In fact, all you have to do is create a profile and fill out what you do in your free time.

5.  $10,000 Scholarship Contest

Students just need to register for the CollegeXpress Scholarship.  You do not need to complete an application for this scholarship. The winner will be chosen in a random drawing.

6. $10,000 “Be Bold” Scholarship

Enter the $10,000 “Be Bold” Scholarship no-essay scholarship. It will be awarded to the applicant with the boldest profile.

7. $1,000 Monthly Scholarship

Register to enter the $1,000 monthly sweepstakes.  Plus make some extra cash to pay for school, books & food by answering a couple of questions!

8. $5,000 Quarterly Scholarship

Sign up as an apprentice (takes 2 minutes). Complete your profile and choose what skills and industries you’re looking for. Build relevant skills, gain hands-on work experience, develop a network of industry professionals and who knows, maybe you will also win $5,000!

9. $2,000 Niche No Essay Scholarship

The scholarship is open to all high school and college students and those planning to enroll in the next 12 months. Simply log in or create a free account to apply.

10. $1,500 Make Me Laugh Scholarship

Tuition expense is no “laughing matter”(pardon the pun!). To enter this scholarship just describe an incident in your life, funny or embarrassing (fact or fiction), and make them laugh!” (250 words or less).

11. $1,000 Survey Sweepstakes

Take short surveys and make some extra cash to help pay for school and books.  Easy to enter and complete! Open to students, parents, and recent alumni.

12. Sallie Mae $1,000 Monthly Sweepstakes

Entrants only need to register online to enter this monthly sweepstakes.

13. $1,500 Do-Over Scholarship

To enter, write in 250 words or less-  if you could get one ‘do-over’ in life, what would it be and why?”

14. $500 Courage to Grow Scholarship

Please explain in 250 words or less why you believe that you should be awarded this scholarship.

15. $1,000 Emoji Scholarship

To enter, tell them which emoji best describes your life and why for the chance to win $1,000 scholarship for school or student loan payments.

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Frequently asked questions about easy scholarships

Are there any drawbacks to applying for easy scholarships?

The biggest downside of applying for easy scholarships is that many students can enter. This means that your chances of winning are lower than scholarships with essays and other specific criteria. The truth is that many of these scholarships are more similar to contests than a “true” scholarship competition based on merit or an essay.

Can I improve my chances at winning an easy scholarship?

Generally, these is no additional effort to help you win an easy scholarship other than applying when additional entry dates become available. They are dissimilar to a traditional scholarship where perhaps you can write  “better” essay or perhaps have someone proofread your application.

What is the best strategy for applying for easy scholarships?

We suggest that you apply to as many scholarships as possible, both easy and traditional. However, given that easy scholarships are more difficult to secure, you should cast a wide net and also apply to scholarships with more specific criteria which applies to you (bonus- there will be less competition).

Bottom line for applying to these quick and easy scholarships:

Easy scholarships should not be your only focus when applying for scholarships.  Just be sure that you are also applying to other scholarships with more specific and substantial criteria. Statistically, these scholarships may prove easier to attain, because there are less applicants and the  candidate may be a perfect fit for the scholarship criteria.

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Before reaching out for student loans, exhaust all possible resources. We have given you some easy ones to think about and should take advantage of.

If you strike out on these easy scholarships, remember to exhaust your federal student loans first before turning to private students loans. Check out Cedar Ed Private student loans for quick and easy loan comparisons.

Monthly Scholarships

With the tuition costs of college and university going up and not showing any signs of slowing down, the importance of a scholarship is higher than ever before. While scholarships have always been the saving grace for most financially strapped families who hope to send their children to some form of higher education, the prices they are forced to pay have reached unprecedented levels, often exceeding the annual income for some families. One helpful tool for students are monthly scholarships which are those that allow prospective recipients to apply, and a winner picked, each month. Below are some of the most accessible and popular monthly scholarships available to future or current undergraduates.

1. You Deserve it Scholarship by Scholarship Owl

Scholarship Owl provides one of the simplest monthly scholarships out there, as the requirements to enter this scholarship start and stop by simply creating and submitting your application. That’s it, that’s all you have to do, and your name is registered and eligible. Winners are picked at random each month, with the deadline landing within the second to last or last day of each month. If you miss the deadline for the current month, your application is simply rolled over into next month’s pool. Additionally, winners will also receive a month free of Scholarship Owl’s services.

2. Scholarship Points Scholarship by Scholarshippoints.com

This scholarship chooses winners randomly each quarter of the year. All students have to do is fill out a registration form on Scholarship Point’s website and they will be automatically entered into the $1,000 scholarship drawing.

3. Cappex Easy College Money Scholarship

Cappex’s Easy College Money Scholarship is a monthly scholarship open to US high school students who are going to enroll in a college or university. All students need to do is make a Cappex profile on their website and show proof of their enrollment in a college or university. Students will then be chosen each month for an award of $1,000 to their tuition costs.

6. Be Bold” No-Essay Scholarship

The $10,000 “Be Bold” Scholarship is a no-essay scholarship that will be awarded
the applicant with the boldest profile. The scholarship will be awarded to the student whose profile is most bold, according to these characteristics: earnest, determined and moving.

4. Course Hero $4K and Amazon Sweepstakes

This scholarship is offered by Course Hero and prizes include either a $4,000 scholarship award towards your college or university or a $100 Amazon giftcard. Those qualify you must be age 18 years or older, enrolled or in a college or university, and live in a qualified state. Those states that do not qualify are New York, Florida, and Rhode Island. A winner will be chosen each application period at random.

5. Niche Monthly Scholarship

The Niche Monthly Scholarship is a monthly sweepstakes, with the application deadline falling on the last or second to last day of the month. All high school students planning to attend college or university, and all current undergraduates, are all eligible to submit an entry, and a winner will be picked each month at random to receive the $2,000 scholarship award.

7. Nitro College Parent Scholarship

This scholarship, offered by Nitro College, is a bit different, as it is not prospective undergraduates and current undergraduates who are up for consideration, rather, it is their parents. The only eligibility requirements of the parent is that they have a high school or undergraduate student and are a US citizen. Each applicant must fill out a form, which includes a survey, provided by Nitro College and submit to be considered in each month’s drawing for the $2,000 scholarship award.

8. Nitro College Graduate Scholarship
This is another Nitro College Scholarship and is aimed towards current graduate students. The only eligibility requirements are that you are both a graduate student and a US Citizen or permanent resident. All applicants need to do is submit an online application on Nitro College’s website and their names will automatically be entered into the monthly drawing for the $2,000 scholarship prize.

9. Sallie Mae Plan for College Sweepstakes
This scholarship sweepstakes is provided by Sallie Mae (yeah the same people you’re probably in debt to, go figure) and is to the amount of $1,000. All prospective applicants need is to be a student ages 18 or older, and a US citizen or legal permanent resident and to create and register for a Sallie Mae account (if you don’t have one already). Once that is done you will automatically be eligible for the random monthly drawing.

10. Couragetogrow.com Scholarship

This scholarship, offered by Courage to Grow, is to the amount of $500. Students must be a high school junior or senior or a current undergraduate, a US citizen, and have a GPA of 2.0 or higher. To apply, students must fill out the application form and write a short 250-word essay pertaining to the specific topic of that month’s application. Applications close on the final day of the month and the winner for that month will be announced a week later.

11. Pursue Your Passion Scholarship

This scholarship is open to US students who are 18 or older and are going to receive an undergraduate education. Students must complete a short, roughly 100 word, essay detailing how this scholarship can help them achieve a learning in something they are intrigued or passionate about. Winners will be chosen for the $1,000 scholarship for their accredited college or university.

12. GoCollege Lucky Draw Scholarship

This is a fairly straightforward scholarship offered by GoCollege.com. All they require for applicants to be a US student who will be attending college or university and visit their website to tell them how they can improve it for students like yourself. A winner will be chosen each month for the $250 award.

13. The BG Scholarship
This scholarship is open to both US and international students and is relatively simple. All applicants must do is submit a short 250-word essay detailing why they believe they deserve the scholarship. The award is worth $300, and a winner will be chosen each month of the year.

14. $500 “Go Ennounce Yourself” Scholarship

Provided by GoEnnounce.com, this scholarship is to the amount of $500 and is open to high school students and students of 2- or 4-year colleges/universities who reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington DC. Students must create an online profile at their website and submit fun and interesting facts about their university or unique ways in which they spend their time at school, with a winner being chosen each month.

15. Sun Trust Off to College Scholarship

This Scholarship is offered by Sun Trust Bank and is to the amount of $1,000. Applicants must be a high school senior planning to enroll in a college or university or current undergraduate students. They must also be a US citizen who lives in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, or the District of Columbia. To apply, you simply need to fill out an application form and your name will automatically be submitted for the biweekly drawings.

If you are looking for other scholarship opportunities, check out our easy scholarships list!

Weird Scholarships

With college tuition costs rising every year, students look more and more for some type of way in which they can receive financial relief in covering the costs of pursuing a higher education. Well, after doing some research on “weird” scholarships, I can tell you in confidence that there is a scholarship for absolutely anyone. No really, I mean it, anyone. Zombie Enthusiast? Check. Potential potato industry kingpin? Covered. High schoolers who just so happen to caddie in the summer? Yep, them too. The list doesn’t stop there, so check out some of the weirdest scholarships below, and see if you just so happen to be eligible. If none of these weird scholarships excite you, perhaps you find the Because College is Expensive Scholarship an easy one to enter!

  • Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship 

Yep, it’s exactly what is sounds like. This scholarship offers students ages 13 and up the opportunity to write about what they would do should their school become overrun by zombies. Due on October 31st, you can be awarded $2,000 by showcasing your creativity in how you would cope with a zombie apocalypse, discussing things like where you would go and the essential items for your survival. 

  • Doodle for Google Scholarship

It’s time that all of that doodling in class finally pays off, and with this scholarship, it really does. This is a Google sponsored scholarship in which applicants are asked to submit a doodle that they feel represents the selected theme of the year, 2020’s being kindness. The winner of the contest receives a $30,000 scholarship for their tuition, in addition to a $50,000 package to the winner’s school. The deadline varies year to year, but usually takes place in March. 

  • Tall Clubs International Students Scholarship 

This scholarship has an unusual prerequisite for applicants: all women must be at least 5’10” and men must be at least 6’2”. Applications open from September to February and end in March and require all applicants email the Tall Clubs International Foundation with both their height, city, and state as well as entering their first year of college in the following Fall. 

  • Stuck at Prom Scholarship 

Recall the MythBusters episode in which they built multiple things out of duct tape, ranging from hammocks all the way to a sea-worthy ship they actually sailed in. What did they leave out? Prom attire. Don’t worry, however, because Duck Tape inc. has you covered. This scholarship awards the owners of the best tuxedo and prom dress made strictly from Duck Tape’s duct tape product a $20,000 scholarship to wherever the high schooler will be attending college that fall. 

  • Asparagus Club Scholarship 

This scholarship is sponsored by the National Grocers Association and is offered to undergraduate juniors and seniors, as well as graduate students. The only requirements are that the applicant has a minimum 2.5 GPA and be majoring in business, food management, or other related fields. In addition, students must describe their ambitions in the food industry as well as professor recommendation. The association awards up to 10 scholarships each year which comprise of a $2,000 award per semester. 

  • Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest Scholarship 

Do you consider yourself an esteemed duck caller? Well, the Stuttgart, Arizona Chamber of Commerce offers students the chance to capitalize on those skills in the form of scholarships for their education. They award $2,000 to first place, $1,000 for second, $750 for third, and $500 for fourth, and is open to any high school senior graduating in 2020. Applicants must provide their transcript, proper identification, and elite duck calling skills. 

  • Prom Guide Cutest Couple Scholarship 

Everyone thinks that they have the cutest relationship on the face of the earth. Well, now it’s time to put your money where your mouth is, couples. This contest, sponsored by Prom Guide Magazine, is open to high school juniors and seniors and only requires you to post you and your significant other’s prom pic. Winners will be selected by the highest number of votes on Prom Guide’s Instagram page, giving the winners $1,000 for their next step in education. 

  • CoffeeforLess.com “Hit the Books” Scholarship

Coffee, most of need this delicious beverage just to get the ball rolling in the morning, and your love for it is about to pay off. In this scholarship, applicants are asked, in 500 words or less, to describe the roll of education in their life, with extra consideration being awarded to those who creatively incorporate coffee into their essay. The winner will receive $500 to go towards their books and school materials for the year. 

  • National Potato Council Scholarship 

Are you a fan of potatoes? Are you passionate about potatoes? Well, the National Potato Council has got you covered. This $10,000 scholarship is awarded a graduate student pursuing a career in the potato industry and the selection criteria is based on leadership abilities, grades, potato-related graduate study, and who feels they can best benefit the future of the potato industry. 

  1. Shout it Out Scholarship 

Sponsored by Unigo, this scholarship is relatively straight forward. This scholarship is open to all students ages 13 and older who are planning on acquiring some form of higher education post high school. In 250 words or less, students must answer the question, “If you could shout one thing to the world, what would it be and why?” The winner is awarded $1,500 towards the tuition of their secondary education. 

  • Parapsychological Association Research Scholarship 

Ghost and other paranormal stories are as old as time, and many people write them off as fiction. Well, the parapsychological association thinks that these topics need further research and are willing to sponsor research projects in the paranormal from $2,000 and up to $5,000. If you are willing to dig into what goes bump in the night, then this scholarship is the one for you. 

  • Discover Student Loans Scholarship Award Sweepstakes 

The credit agency, Discover, offers students normal student loans, but this contest is a bit different. This may be one of the easiest and most simple scholarships to apply for, as there is no essay or project associated with the application. The only requirement is that you are a high school senior pursuing higher education, and winners are chosen at random and awarded a $5,000 scholarship for their university costs. 

  • The Frederick and Mary F. Beckley Left-Handed Scholarship

If you are a sophomore, junior, or senior at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA and also happen to be left-handed, then you are eligible for this scholarship. Students are chosen who have competitive grades and are left-handed. That’s it. Those are the only two requirements to potentially receive a $1,000 to $1,5000 scholarship.

  • Gamers Helping Gamers Scholarship 

Are you a fan of Magic: The Gathering card game? Well, Gamers Helping Gamers has the perfect scholarship for you. To be considered, applicants must send their transcript, a FAFSA form, and an essay that covers your academic goals, how Magic: The Gathering has impacted your life, what your favorite and least favorite cards and mechanics are, and what you can learn from the game to apply to real-world problems. The winner of this unique scholarship is awarded $5,000 to their place of higher education. 

  • Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship 

Any caddie will tell you how miserable carrying around bags in the blistering sun over and 18-hole course can get. Well, the Western Golf Association Evans Scholar Foundation has quite the payoff for young caddies who are heading to college. Applicants must demonstrate a strong caddie record, as well as outstanding character and grades, in addition to financial need. The winner of the scholarship will have their FULL housing and tuition costs covered and is renewable each year so long as the recipient maintains at the very least 2.5 GPA.

6 Best Banks to Refinance and Consolidate Student Loans in 2020

While consolidating or refinancing your student loans may be a wise idea financially, knowing which bank or lender to go through for carrying out the actual transaction can be confusing. This is because there are a number of different variables to consider when refinancing or consolidating your student loans in 2020.

Interest rates and loan terms are two of the key criteria that you should keep top of mind. However, the actual financial institution that you go through can also make a difference. With that in mind, it is important to compare several lenders prior to finalizing the transaction.

Below is a comparison of the best banks and lenders to help you refinance and consolidate both private and federal student loans. For a holistic review, we discuss student loan consolidation and refinance rates, terms, loan types, eligible degrees and everything you’ll need to make a decision on the best company to work with.

Consolidate and Refinance Student Loans

SoFi Review

At SoFi, both federal and private student loan debt can be either consolidated or refinanced. As a borrower, you are offered a wide range of variable and fixed interest rates to choose from. There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties, so additional borrowing costs are kept to a minimum.

SoFiSoFi also offers additional benefits to its borrowers. For example, with unemployment protection, if you lose your job while you still have a student loan balance, SoFi will temporarily pause your payments and even assist you in finding a new job by reviewing your resume, as well as offering you interview coaching and various tactics for negotiating, which can help you to get back on your “financial feet” more quickly.

If you opt to refinance your student loan, the entire process can take place online and it can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. All it takes is a quick pre-approval in order to ensure that you qualify. Once that is complete, you can choose a loan that fits your specific requirements and then just sign and upload the documents.

Earnest Review

Earnest is known for its flexibility in student loan refinancing and consolidation. With this lender’s Precision Pricing, you are able to choose the monthly payment that works the best for you and your personal budget. Earnest also looks forward when determining your overall financial picture – not just backward.

EarnestThis means that rather than just evaluating your past financial and credit history, they also look forward and take into consideration your future financial potential and responsibility. This makes their loan underwriting that much more personal.

Furthermore, unlike most other lenders that transfer your loan to a third party servicer soon after receiving your paperwork, Earnest stays with you throughout the life of the loan. With that in mind, you can expect personal service – now and in the future.

CommonBond Review

CommonBond offers you the option to choose from fixed, variable, or hybrid interest rates. Hybrid rates allow you to pay a fixed rate on your loan for the first five years, and then pay variable rates for the last five years.

CommonBondThere are no hidden fees to contend with such as application fees, origination fees, or even prepayment penalties if you pay your loan off early. You are also protected from various financial “emergencies” such as job loss. For example, if you lose your job, CommonBond will pause your student loan payments – and will even assist you in finding new employment.

The process of consolidation or refinance is easy – and in most cases can be completed entirely online in just four steps. Just simply fill out the application, obtain your interest rate, upload the necessary documents, and wait for an approval.

Citizens Bank Review

Citizens Bank provides the opportunity to refinance high student loan debt or to consolidate multiple loans. This lender offers ways to get a lower interest rate, regardless of whether you are consolidating or refinancing student loans through them.

Citizens BankThese can include automatic payments, which is when you authorize the Citizens Bank loan servicer to automatically deduct your monthly loan payments, you can save 0.25% off your student loan’s interest rate. Or a loyalty discount, which applies if you (or a cosigner) already has a qualifying account with Citizens Bank at the time that you apply, you may also be able to save 0.25% on a new Education Refinance Loan.

If you have poor (or no) credit, then applying for a loan consolidation or a refinance in conjunction with a cosigner may help your chances of approval. It can also help you to obtain a lower interest rate – which, in turn, can help to lower your monthly payment amount. At Citizens Bank, even if you apply along with a cosigner, once you have made 36 consecutive on-time payments on your loan, you can apply to release your cosigner from your loan.

LendKey Review

LendKey offers a way for borrowers and more than 13,000 credit unions and community financial institutions to essentially “match up” and find the best solution for all. This can help you to discover the option that works for your specific budget and payment schedule – all from the convenience of your computer.

LendKeyBecause of the transparent, low-interest lending structure of these types of financial institutions, you can make smart borrowing decisions when it comes to consolidating or refinancing your student loans through LendKey – which can essentially help you in lowering your interest rate, your monthly payment amount, and in turn, your overall lifetime payment that is due.

With LendKey, you will not be subject to paying any loan origination fees, or early loan payoff penalties, either. This can end up saving you thousands of extra dollars throughout the life of your student loan.

DRB Review

DRB offers borrowers both fixed and variable interest rates, with payment terms that range from between 5 and 20 years. If you happen to lose your job, DRB will allow you to cease making payments on your student loan during the time of your hardship – and they will even provide you with assistance in finding new employment.

DRBThrough this lender, you may be able to refinance up to 100% of your outstanding federal and private student loans. There are no origination fees, and no prepayment penalties if you pay off your loan early.

The Bottom Line

When considering a lender for a student loan consolidation or refinance, it is typically best to compare several prior to making your ultimate decision. It is important to note that the actual interest rate that you will receive on your loan will be based upon several factors that are specific to you and your unique background, including your income, credit score, and savings. Whether or not you apply with a cosigner can also be a factor.

Looking for a Law School Scholarship?

LSATPrepCourses.org, a rate & review website for LSAT Test Prep Companies, just announced a new scholarship offering for law school students. The $500 LSAT Prep Courses Scholarship is open to all law school students and those planning on enrolling within 12 months. To enter the scholarship, all the student needs to do is rate & review their LSAT Test Program.

The winner will be determined by random drawing and then contacted directly and announced on their website. Law School is expensive and many law school scholarships require lengthy essays or special circumstances. This scholarship is one of the easy ones!

To enter the scholarship, you can visit, LSATPrepCourses.org.

If you are still looking for additional private scholarships to fund your law school endeavors, be sure to check out out list of 15 easy scholarships.

MBAInsight.com Special Offers!

MBAInsight.com recently published its Top 10 Best GMAT Prep companies along with the 5 Best MBA Admission Consultants.  The rankings are based from verified MBA students who have used these services and is meant to give perspective MBA Students an unbiased user rating.  Along with the rankings, MBAInsight.com offers students with a list of discount and promo codes for a lot of the top services.  Below is a sample list  of the current discounts they offer on GMAT Test Prep and MBA Admission Consulting firms:

Manhattan Prep GMAT– save up to 10% off Manhattan Prep’s fees for online or live classes.

Magoosh GMAT– get a discount of 20% on your Magoosh course of your choosing

Kaplan GMAT– save an additional 10% at checkout on either  GMAT online or live classes

Princeton Review GMAT– save up to 15% on various GMAT online and live classes

Stacy Blackman Consulting– get a free 15 minute  MBA potential evaluation

Admissionado– offers 1 school free (on the Junior Deluxe or Deluxe level) when you sign up for 3 or more.

Empower GMAT– Currently offering a 15% discount for the first month of the month-to-month option, or free Official Exam Packs 1 and 2 ($100 worth of official practice exams).

The Economist GMAT– save up to $200 on any online GMAT course you buy from The Economist.

Veritas GMAT Prep– save $100 off any online GMAT course.

EssayEdge– save 10$ on their MBA Personal Statement Editing & Essay Proofreading Services

 

 

 

 

 

Should I Pay Off Student Loans or Invest?

Should you pay off your student loans or invest? It’s a classic question for recent graduates and young adults. If you’ve exited college and are either actively employed in the work force or still seeking a job, it is likely that you may have at least some amount of student loan debt to pay off. The good news is that you’re not alone, as it is estimated that roughly 40 million people are in the same boat, with an average student loan amount of $35,000.

But being a part of this group doesn’t make it any easier to determine what exactly you should do going forward in terms of paying off your debt obligation or investing your money for the future.

Fortunately, asking yourself “should I pay off my student loans or invest?” is the right question to be asking because where you put your money determines how you maximize your wealth, and is thereby a step towards becoming debt-free and financially independent.

Pay Off Student Loans or Invest

Considerations For Your Future Finances

Today, people are living longer than ever before, which in turn means that you could essentially spend 30 or more years in retirement. While that time may seem a long time away, the earlier you start investing could be the difference between retiring a millionaire and running out of funds.

On the other hand, student loan debt is still an important financial obligation – one that is required to be repaid, so at the very least, you should make the minimum monthly student loan payment. However, by paying off your student loan(s) more quickly, it could mean that you will have more disposable income to invest with once the student debt is fully paid off.

Pay Off Debt or Invest?

In determining the best course of action for you, there are a number of key factors that you should consider. Here’s how to decide whether you should pay off your student loans or start investing young and early.

Liquidity Requirements

As you enter into the world, you will need to have a good idea of how much money you need to not only meet your everyday living expenses, but also in case of an emergency. With that in mind, many financial experts advise building up an “emergency fund” in the amount of between three and six months of your expenses. That way, just in case of a job loss or other emergency, you will be able to still pay your bills for a certain period of time.

Also, you will need to be sure that you are comfortable paying your monthly expenses after you’ve paid your student loans or made contributions to your investment account. Therefore, calculate just how much you have coming in (after taxes and other deductions), versus what you need to live on each month. If you have an overage on the income side, even with making your student loan payment, then putting those funds into savings or investments can make sense.

Ultimately, the best situation is to have enough money to both pay off your loans and invest at the same time. The amount you contribute to each financial need really depends on your rate of return.

Employer-Sponsored Savings Plans

Whether your employer offers a retirement savings plan can also make a difference. In this case, many of these plans, like the 401(k), allow you to defer a portion of your income before taxes. This can mean that the amount of your annual income is reduced when tax time comes, resulting in a lower amount of income tax due or a bigger refund.

You should also check into whether or not your employer offers a matching program on your retirement plan contributions. If so, it may require you to contribute at least a certain amount of money into the plan. If you qualify for the employer match, it is like receiving “free money” in your account, so be sure to always maximize your 401K match.

Interest Rates vs Expected Investment Returns

Another important factor to consider is the amount of interest that you are paying on your student loan versus your anticipated investment returns. Criteria here will be dependent on what you plan to invest in.

For instance, some of the “safer” options such as money markets, CDs, and bonds are currently paying very low rates of interest. For example, if your investments will only be paying you 2%, but the interest rate on your student loan is more, then it makes sense to forge ahead and pay off your loans first.

The same goes for other types of debt. If you have credit card debt that is costing you 20% to 30% interest per month, don’t even bother investing till you’ve paid off your credit card bill.

Also, many of the risk-free savings and investment options will not keep pace with inflation, so it is essential for you to factor that into your equation. For example, an annual inflation rate of 3% and an investment return of 2% actually mean you are losing money.

This means that the investments you choose should ideally beat the rate of inflation, as well as the interest rate on your student loan. Long-term, your best bets are equities in the stock market.

Student Loans vs Investments

While you may want nothing more than to invest for your future, sometimes paying off debt can be your best investment. Consider the factors above as they relate to your specific financial circumstances and decide what makes senses for your money. If the sides are evenly balanced, figure that becoming debt-free can often provide a huge intangible benefit – peace of mind.

Contact us if you want ideas on how to lower your payments via consolidation or refinancing and free up some extra cash to invest.

The 7 biggest mistakes people make on college applications

College application form
College application form

Below are some mistakes students make on their college applications that really hurt their chances of being accepted at their top schools.

1. Starting too late- give yourself plenty of time to develop your unique story, it make takes months to do so!

2. Being generic- your essay should tell the admissions committee something unique about who you are and what you’ll bring to the campus that the rest of your application doesn’t.

3. Burning yourself out- Don’t join too many clubs, take 5 AP courses and volunteer on the weekends- you’ll burn yourself out

4. Doing anything cold- take practice exam and do a bunch of mock interviews

5. Selling yourself short- don’t be bashful- brag on your application

6. Acting aloof- visit schools, talk to professors and speak with students in programs or organization you may want to join so that you can discuss in your supplemental essays.

7. Skipping the optional essay- don’t let this opportunity slip by as your chance to show all the research you’ve done on the school and why you’re a perfect fit.

Jobs That Pay Off Student Loans

If you’ve recently completed your college education, or even if you left school without obtaining a degree, you may now be required to repay financial aid that you were awarded, such as your student loans. If you’re thinking of strategic ways to lower your debts faster, one option is to get your job to forgive or pay off your student loans.

Today, it is estimated that more than 40 million people in the U.S. are saddled with student loan debt, with an average loan balance of more than $35,000. And, due to the continuously rising cost of higher education, each year, a new class of students will be in even more debt than the last.

Having this type of debt obligation when just starting out in the working world can make it difficult to get ahead financially. The good news is that there may be a way to reduce, or even eliminate, your student loan balance by going into certain fields of employment.

Here is a list of jobs that forgive or pay off student loans.

Jobs That Pay Off Student Loans

Student Loan Forgiveness Jobs

By working in various jobs, you could essentially make your student loan debt more bearable, and in some cases, even be able to have most or all your student loans paid off. The jobs or careers that offer this unique opportunity include:

Civil Servant, Government Agencies

If you opt to go to work for the government, you could have your student loan forgiven after 120 monthly loan payments, or 10 years, as a part of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness. This program is open to federal, state, and local government agency employees, regardless of your title or authority. The agency is allowed to pay up to $10,000 per year for federally-insured loans, but the total assistance cannot exceed $60,000 per employee.

One example includes student loan forgiveness for lawyers from the Department of Justice via the Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (ASLRP).

Military and Public Employment

If you have a Perkins Loan, then you may be able to have all of this debt forgiven if you serve in a hostile zone as a member of the military. There are other professions that can qualify for this type of loan forgiveness, including law enforcement and corrections officers, public defenders, firefighters, nurses, EMTs (emergency medical technicians), and social workers who work with families in high-risk or low-income areas.

Student Loan Forgiveness For Teachers

Certain areas of the teaching profession may also qualify for student loan forgiveness. Based on the Education Department’s guidelines, a teacher who has a Federal Perkins Loan may get all of their balance forgiven if he or she teaches for five consecutive years in a public school that serves low-income families.

Eligibility also extends to teachers who specialize in math, science, special education, foreign language, or bilingual education. You could also qualify if you teach in an area where there is a shortage of teachers.

As a teacher, you can get up to $17,500 of your student loan forgiven if you teach for five consecutive years in a federally designated low-income secondary institution and you teach either science or math. Up to $17,500 in student loan forgiveness could also be available to you if you work for five years at either a low-income elementary or secondary school as a special education teacher.

In other cases, up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness could be available to other public elementary or secondary school teachers, provided that your school qualifies for these funds under Title l of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and that at least 30% of the school’s students qualify for Title l Services and are on the Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory that is put out by the Education Department.

Non-Profit Organization Employee

If you work for a non-profit organization that qualifies for tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service and is not a partisan political entity or a labor union, you could also obtain loan forgiveness. It is important to note, though, that any time you spend on worship services, religious instruction, or any type of proselytizing will not count.

Volunteer

There are also certain volunteer organizations that could allow you to qualify for up to 70% forgiveness of your Federal Perkins Loan. For instance, going into the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps or Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) will qualify.

State of Residence

Depending on your state of residence, certain jobs and job categories may help you to pay off or reduce your student loan balance. For instance, if you are a dentist in the state of Kansas, you may be able to receive up to $30,000 per year for two years. Likewise, if you are a large animal veterinarian in the state of Minnesota, you could receive $15,000 for five years of work.

There are also instances where your actual job category may not even matter, as long as you reside in a certain area. For example, simply moving to Niagara Falls, New York could qualify you for $7,000 over two years.

Final Word

While you may have a large financial burden on your plate in terms of student debt, what you choose to do after college and where you plan to do it could end up saving you a lot of time and money in payments. By finding a job that pays off your student loans faster, you can free up funds that can then be used towards a down payment on a home and for investing for your future.