There must be another way.
It's a thought crossing the minds of many high school seniors as they stare down college tuition costs.
Student debt in the U.S. now exceeds $1.2 trillion dollars, a deficit which has grown larger than the nation's credit card debt.
With the price of tuition showing little sign of falling from its peak, The Daily Circuit looked at some ideas to fund your college education.
5 creative ways to pay for college
1. Income-share agreements
Miguel Palacios, assistant professor of finance at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management, joined The Daily Circuit and discussed his ideas for investors taking on the risk of college education for students.
Investors finance a student's college education in return for a percentage of their future income over a fixed period. ISAs are not loans and there is no outstanding balance. If students earn more than expected, they will pay more, but they also will pay less--or nothing--if their earnings do not materialize...
Variations of this idea are picking up steam amid rising tuition costs and mounting student debt. On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Rep. Tom Petri (R., Wis.) introduced the Investing in Student Success Act, which would set basic standards for ISA contracts. In Oregon, state legislators in 2013 introduced a "Pay it Forward" plan that would allow students to attend public colleges tuition-free in exchange for 3% of their income after graduation. During the past decade, a handful of organizations have sprouted up to unite investors and students. For-profit groups such as Lumni, Pave and Upstart, as well as nonprofits including 13th Avenue, currently finance students through ISAs.
2. Become an expert on loan forgiveness programs
3. Treat the search for scholarships and grants as a part-time job
Elise, a caller from Minneapolis, offered her advice on being frugal and tracking down financial assistance:
4. Create better incentives for schools to offer degrees that pay off
"Universities should enter into contracts with students to receive a specified fraction of future earnings over a ten year post-graduation horizon," wrote Emery on The Daily Circuit page. "Universities would have to choose the specified fraction based on expected future earnings and cost of providing the education, which would provide a useful price signal to students. Universities would also have a strong incentive to have students finish programs of study that produce useful and marketable credentials.
5. Find jobs after school that allow you to pay down debt quickly
One caller said he worked on cruise lines after graduation. The job included food and housing, so he was able to put his paychecks directly to his student loans.