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Student loans are a hot button issue all over the US. College students find themselves paying much higher tuition than their parents did — while earning just a fraction of their wages. Most parents don’t want their kids to be saddled with debt for decades, but what exactly can you do about it? These are a few potential options that can lessen or eliminate the burden of student loans on your child.

Take On as Much of the Financial Burden as You Can

Times are tough. Not everybody has a huge college fund for their kids. In fact, most Americans live paycheck to paycheck. But if you want to keep your child from being burdened by student loans, it’s best to handle as much of the tuition as possible. After your child has applied for financial aid and scholarships, find out how much they’re still liable for. Instead of having them take out a student loan, you can take out a private parent loan to pay for their schooling. These personal loans won’t impact your child’s credit score or their income after they graduate. If your child has their heart set on a four-year university, this might be the best course of action. Other options involve going a non-traditional route.

Attend a Community College First

When you pursue a four-year degree, most of your classes are general education during the first two years. You aren’t specializing in your major yet. You’re just getting the core education that everyone in the workforce needs. As such, you don’t have to rely on universities with expert professors or stellar programs. You can spend two years at a community college for a fraction of the cost of a private university. Then transfer to a private school for the latter half of your major. This solution also helps if your kid doesn’t have the best high school transcripts. Their high school grades won’t matter if they have good marks in their community college gen ed courses. Chances are, recruiters won’t even look at them.

Consider Trade School

Trade school isn’t for everyone. You won’t be able to pursue the same academic opportunities that you would at a university. But you will get specialized training that you can turn into a career path right away. If your child is interested in working with their hands, owning their own business, or being part of a manufacturing team, a trade school might be the perfect option. What you’ll learn depends on the trade you’re studying. Your child can do research beforehand to find out about how long schooling takes, how easy it is to find work in their field, and how much people in their field make on average.

Take a Gap Year

If your child isn’t sure what they want to do yet, they might benefit from a gap year. By taking a year to find themselves after high school, they’ll have a better sense of their life path once they are ready to pursue school or a career.