More than 44 million Americans have taken out student loans to pay for school and their debt now totals $1.4 trillion. The average debt for 20-year-olds is $22,135 while for 30-year-olds, it's $34,033.
And loans are about to get more expensive. In an interview with CNBC, student loan expert Mark Kantrowitz estimated that the annual interest rate on federal Stafford loans for undergraduates could hit more than 5 percent by the 2018-2019 academic year. For grad students, interest could reach 6 percent or higher in the same time frame.
If you want a college degree but want to minimize your debt, you could apply for scholarships and grants. You could consider working for a company like Starbucks that offers tuition assistance to employees. And if you've already graduated, you could look into forgiveness options, lower payment plans and prepare to throw yourself at your loans for a few years and prioritize getting them paid off ASAP.
If you're still deciding on a school, though, you could also try a different strategy: Be strategic about what state you choose for college and be ready to stay and work there after you complete your degree.