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An expert explains how to graduate debt-free from college

Student loan debt is a growing crisis in the United States, but one expert explains the steps young adults can take to graduate from college debt-free.

Last year, college graduates borrowed $29,200 on average, which was 2% more than the typical debt load of 2017's graduating class, according to a recent report from the Institute for College Access & Success (ICAS).

And this is becoming the new normal, as the majority of students graduate with some form of student debt. The ICAS study found that roughly two in three college seniors, from public and private nonprofit universities, borrowed for their education in 2018.

“We need to take debt off of the table and start looking at different options to pay for college,” Anthony ONeal, “Debt-Free Degree” author told Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM.

“Once we take debt off the table let’s step back and have a vision,” ONeal added, asking: “What do you want to do? What’s your career? And is the degree that you’re going after profitable?”

Student loan debt is a growing crisis in the U.S. (Courtesy: Getty)
Student loan debt is a growing crisis in the U.S. (Courtesy: Getty)

To combat the rising cost of obtaining a degree, ONeal suggests setting aside time to research scholarships, along with inquiring about college programs available for in-state students. He cited a new program from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke as an example.

That school “just launched a new program saying if you get accepted into Pembroke, you will only pay $500 a semester. So this is $1,000 for a school year, $4,000 for a bachelor’s degree, that’s a great [return] on your investment and you will not have to borrow a dime to go to college,” ONeal said.

McKenzie Stratigopoulos is a producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @mckenziestrat

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