At least 19.9 million students attended US colleges and universities last year. That’s among the largest national cohort in recording history. More people from various walks of life are attending college than ever before, but they are doing so at a cost. Skyrocketingcollege tuitions and stagnant wages mean more college students are forced to take on years, and in some cases even decades, worth of debt. So many students are taking on debt that it’s become a major talking point for several presidential candidates.
Applying to college and thinking — and even talking! — about debt can be an anxiety inducing endeavor. To make the process a little easier, INSIDER spoke to academics, colleges coaches, and social workers to figure out what prospective students can do to avoid crippling student debt. Keep scrolling below to see how these experts responded to some common questions.