Don’t fret: Here’s how to have minimal debt

Lisa Lilianstrom, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Whenever any student from a community college graduates, a good amount of them want to transfer to other universities in order to further their education and get better jobs. One of the main things that can stand in the way of that dream may be the cost of tuition, and that cost, unfortunately, has students taking out dreadful student loans. But there are ways to be in as little debt as possible.

Here Elgin Community College alumni provide tips to avoid debt.

“Don’t live on campus if you can help it,” said ECC Alumni Gema Atta who is currently attending University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Dorming would have doubled the amount of loans I owe, while renting an apartment can be an expensive out of pocket expense but ideally you’d be working while at ECC and at uni to help pay for rent and other expense.”

Meghan Dillon, an ECC Alumni who is a graduate of Illinois State University, who works two part time jobs and has her parents help her out to pay her loans said to take advantage of any free money that you may get.

“Find and apply for as many scholarships and grants as you can,” Dillon said. “Even if it’s for a small amount, free money is free money.”

While student loan debt can be a pain to payback, some students realize that going to university right after high school would have made the debt twice as high. Which is why some students like Akemi Almeida went to community college first.

“I went to ECC my first 2 years for free because of scholarships and government aid,” Almeida said. “Now I will owe only about 20k for my two years at DePaul, which sounds like a lot but compared to the 120k it would have cost if I lived there and went all four years. I’ve also remained a commuter student all four years with steady jobs and good grades it’s all possible.”

Almeida said that she knew it had to happen but then knew that community college was the best option for her.

“I knew it had to happen, but I found it difficult to grasp the actual depth of my debt. I’ve heard horror stories about adults many decades older than me who are still paying off theirs and I think to myself – “no way that will be me. I won’t allow it”. Going to ECC first was not only an appropriate segue from high school for me, but it also served to save me thousands of dollars. You really have to weigh out your personal priorities – do you want the “college-experience” with dorms and a meal plan or do you fall in another path,” said Almedia.


About the Writer
Lisa Lilianstrom, Writer and Photographer

My name is Lisa Lilianstrom and I am getting my Associate in Arts degree with an intent to transfer and major in Journalism. Besides the Observer I am...

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

The Student News Site of Elgin Community College
Don’t fret: Here’s how to have minimal debt