The Best Way to Avoid Student Loans in College

avoid student loansYou could spend literal weeks on end scouring the internet for the elusive college scholarship. You may submit thousands of applications, write hundreds of essays, and do some really stupid things to try to win a college scholarship. For the vast majority of us these efforts may win us some money, but it will be nowhere close to the amount we will need to fully fund our college education.

The best way to avoid student loans in college is to start your own small business and pay your own way!


Why Start a Business in College?

The simple fact is that you will likely have no other time in your life where you have less to lose. Starting a business takes dedication and sacrifice. If you have a mortgage, a wife, and kids these sacrifices become MUCH harder to make. The only sacrifice you might make as a college freshman is giving up your time otherwise spent sleeping, playing video games, or wandering aimlessly around campus at 3am.

These things can wait.

You also have the advantage of having your finger on the pulse of what drives college students. A successful business is built around satisfying the most critical need of potential customers. A college campus is an excellent proving ground for a business idea. One quick post on Facebook or a discussion in the dining hall would likely be all of the market research that you need to validate your business idea.

You also have access to some of the best minds in the country in your professors and administration. Professors have office hours for a reason: they are here to help their students. 99% of college professors would be more than happy to take a professional interest in a product or business idea that you have. They may even agree to act as an advisor for you. This relationship could be invaluable to your business plan moving forward.

The profits earned from your business can be directly funneled back into paying for your education. The more income you earn from your business the more you can avoid student loans, with the eventual goal of paying for your college outright from your business revenue.

Starting a business while in college also has the added benefit of teaching you real world business experience, which is something you will never get inside a classroom. You will have a very impressive credential on your resume, and I can guarantee you that you will have the experiences to impress a hiring manager during a job interview. That is of course, if you even need to apply for jobs after you graduate. Building a business while in college is the only way to guarantee that you have a job once you graduate. You may decide never to pursue a career and remain on as the CEO of your own business.


Success Stories

Bryan Silverman turned toilet paper into reading material and launched a very successful business. His company, Star Toilet Paper turns toilet paper into reading material. He sells ad space on the paper and has landed over 65 paying companies thus far. He also won the College Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in 2012.

Daniel Mishin has started a company which develops hostels in Russia that are strikingly similar to dorm rooms. His company Bear Hostels is a cross between a hotel and a college dorm and markets to American tourists, especially students studying and traveling abroad.

Gabrielle Palermo started a company turning abandoned shipping containers into mobile medical facilities. Her company G3Box, just won over $20,000 in funding to jump-start her business and has already started producing and shipping these medical containers around the world.


The Bottom Line

The opportunities are endless. You can start a business in your dorm room and conquer the world. You can start a humanitarian for-profit company or you can literally use toilet paper to pay your way through college.

Having a business while in college will not only pay your way through college but it will also keep you motivated, teach you invaluable time management skills, and give your future a much needed boost to be successful.

Oh, and you can also avoid student loan debt!

What are your thoughts on avoiding student loans and starting a business in college?

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  1. says

    I’m of the opinion that the best way to avoid student loans is to work your tail off in high school and college to get full scholarships. That’s what I did. You could argue that scholarship applications take a lot of work, but so does starting and maintaining a successful business.

    I don’t think that there’s one best way to pay your way though college. You have to think about why are you there in the first place. If you want to go med school, you had best put your grades first, because no one cares if you started a company if your GPA is low and your MCAT is mediocre. If you just want a generic white collar job then being able to demonstrate successful entrepreneurship would be a plus – and probably a better selling point than a high GPA.

    • says

      That’s all well and good IF any of the colleges that are good for your major offer full-tuition scholarships. None of mine did. I could have gotten full tuition merit scholarships to other universities, but they weren’t high-ranked in my field. I ended up going to a high-but-not-highest ranked public university with a Dean’s Scholarship, a National Merit Scholarship, and a couple of others. Didn’t cover everything, but it came close enough.

      Given my major, if I’d had no assistance from my parents, I would have gone to one of the two top-ranked in state public universities. Neither offered full tuition scholarships, but I could have paid for what was left between what I had left over from high school and my internships.

    • says

      There are definitely multiple routes to take to pay your way through college. It sounds like you were very fortunate in that you were able to secure enough scholarships to pay your entire way through. That is awesome, but not typical.

      You are definitely correct that you need to focus on why you are in college in the first place however. Regardless of how you pay for it, a degree in a worthless field, will land you a worthless job, or no job at all.

    • says

      @Jenny – That is awesome! I think stories like that are really inspirational, and I wish more people would have the drive and motivation to start businesses while young. Having an entrepreneurial mindset pays dividends back in your career.

  2. says

    Finally! Good advice to University students! The most intelligent decision I made while spending thousands in Grad School was to build a business. I acquired skills, experience to the extent that I never needed to search for a non-existent job or one with a low-paying salary. I’m grateful I didn’t wait for the approval of those who said need to wait to become “good enough” or “educated enough”. Truth is everyone starts somewhere and the sooner, the better! Creating cash flow while while being in school is great, having less or no debt is EVEN better! Thanks for the good post! Here’s to the success of aspiring entrepreneurs ! Your best education comes with experiencing life. Go. For. It!!! 😀

    • says

      @Paige – Thanks! College is definitely a very fertile ground for business creation. Hopefully we can all continue to spread the word about the importance of creating a business while still in college. Thanks for the comment!

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