Earning a college degree is an important step on the road to pursuing a variety of careers. Anyone looking to become a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, among other careers, will need to first earn a degree from an accredited university. That being said, such degrees come at a price that only seems to be going up from year to year.

When you attend college, you have to be able to pay for your tuition cost and all fees associated with it, your textbooks and supplies, as well as your room and board. Other unexpected expenses can arise. With the average cost of attending a four-year college currently sitting around $20,000 per year for in-state public schools and $47,000 per year for private schools, you might be wondering just how you are going to afford your degree without burying yourself in debt.

Thankfully, there are a variety of ways in which students are able to fund their degrees without taking on too much debt. While student loans are still the norm for many, there are other sources of financial aid that can help to reduce the amount of money you have to take out in the form of loans.

Here are three ways to help you earn your college degree without burying yourself in debt.

1. Scholarships

One of the most popular ways for a student to make their degree more affordable is to obtain a scholarship of some sort. There are plenty of scholarship opportunities out there that can be awarded for a number of reasons. Many schools offer academic scholarships directly based on a student’s grades. There are also organizations, like the National Merit Scholarship Organization, that grant merit-based scholarships to students. Other scholarships are competition based in nature.

If you are proficient in a certain sport, you might even be able to earn some scholarship money to play a sport at the collegiate level. NCAA Division I and II schools can award scholarships to athletes that they recruit. You can learn more about such scholarships and how to earn them at asmscholarships.com.

2. Financial Aid

Scholarships are not the only sources of funding that schools offer to students. There are financial aid programs that can be applied based on personal and family circumstances. For instance, if your household earns less than a certain amount per year, you might qualify for financial aid to the school of your choosing. Just make sure to submit your financial aid application before the required deadline.

3. Grants

Another source of funding that is available to certain students is that of grants. These are financial awards bestowed based on personal circumstances and can come from the federal government or other sources. They are different from scholarships in that they are not based on your merit or grades but rather your individual situation, financially speaking. You can apply for such grants easily online and might be able to fund the bulk of your education in this way.