More than two-thirds of college graduates today leave school in debt, with the average 2014 graduate owing $33,000. For some students, borrowing money may be the only way to get a degree. But smart planning can help you graduate with less debt. “The time to reduce your debt is before you incur it, not after you graduate,” says Mark Kantrowitz, senior vice president and publisher of the website Edvisors. He notes that graduating with $33,000 in debt is equivalent to having a $350 monthly car payment for 10 years. Financial aid officers say there are lots of sources for aid that doesn’t have to be paid back, and more students need to exhaust those resources first. My niece managed to graduate from a state university with no debt by putting together a selection of scholarships and grants. For seven ways to reduce college debt, read the full story on our sister site, Living on the Cheap.