High school seniors across the country are preparing for graduation. Although the end of their high school career is rapidly approaching, students and their families need to look ahead to college; specifically, how they will pay for their continuing education. One topic that is sure to come up is student loans.

Today’s college student has several student loan options including public, private and parent loans. A student can easily gain access to tens of thousands of dollars in loan funding each year. While this might sound nice, some of these undergraduate students leave college with upwards of $50,000, $75,000 or even $100,000 in student loan debt. I can’t imagine being a new college graduate in my early 20s with $50,000 in student loan debt, especially in today’s tough job market.

The good news is, students can attend college without taking out a single student loan. Students might have to choose to attend a less expensive state school and stay at home instead of the dorms. Another option is to start out at a community college, a move that could save thousands of dollars. Working while attending college is another great way to avoid hefty student loans.

These ideas and others are presented in a book that I’d recommend to all high school seniors: "Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching Off My Parents" by Zac Bissonnette.

Student loans may be the status quo, but they can be avoided. Sure, the student may have to make a few compromises or even think outside the box, but to me, graduating from college without any student loan debt sounds like a great way to start a new life.

So what do you think? Are student loans a useful tool, a necessary evil or something to be completely avoided?

Student loans: Love 'em or hate 'em?
As high school grads prepare for college in the fall, it's time to talk about how to finance their continuing education.