Student loan debt has skyrocketed in the past few years, according to a Fox Business Analysis.
However the price tag of attending a four-year institution has also risen.
Ed Kerestly, the director of Financial Aid at Angelo State University, advises students on exploring all other options before applying for a student loan.
"From federal, state and even institutional sources things like grants, scholarship, opportunities to work as well as school's offering payment options during the school year," Kerestly said.
The average cost of a four-year public education rose 2.7 percent to more than $20,000, according to data from The College Board.
For private, nonprofit four-year institutions a 3.4 percent increase to more than $45,000 a year.
"First of all take advantage of federal loans that are available as a result of completing the FAFSA the Free Application for Federal Aid," he said.
For parents who may co-sign for their child's loan Kerestly recommends talking about loans before the process.
"Just being very sure that they made arrangements with their student on the responsibility of repaying that loan when it comes due," he said.
Parents and students may have the options of applying for a federal loan called the Parent Plus Loan or the state option of the College Access Loan.
"Parents need to again be working closely with their child to realize when they're signing that loan they're taking responsibility just like the student for that loan," he said. "That the loan will be reflected on their credit."