Picture this: you’ve graduated from college, and you’re ready to conquer the world of working adulthood with your shiny new degree.

Well, if you’re like 60% of your fellow graduates, you borrowed to cover the cost of that education. With the average debt load around $30,000 per student, Americans owe over $1.1 trillion dollars in outstanding student loans according to the Federal Reserve. That’s like graduating from college with another car payment – and you may not even have a job yet.

Bottom line, you don’t want to any more student loan debt than is necessary. So, we’re here to help.

If you’re a high school student about to enter the collegiate ranks, the financial aid qualification process is a daunting one. Even if you have a couple years of college under your belt, you may still be a bit confused. We sat down with Wayne State University’s Senior Director of Student Financial Aid, Gabriela Garfield, to talk about the FAFSA process and what you need to know to stay smart when it comes to your student loans.

We can’t promise you’ll escape college debt free. But, if you want to avoid common mistakes, and have a better understanding of how the federal financial aid process works, take a listen.

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