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Don’t Graduate from IOU

I remember it like yesterday. I had great aspirations to go to the University of Memphis to get my business degree and open up a coffee shop while heading for my Master’s. Such a great plan, right? The only problem is that I try to do it the “easy” way. I took out student loans to fund it. Wait. That’s not the problem. I had to quit I didn’t have any more loans to get after I lost my job. Did I finish? Nope. Let’s fast forward a few years later. I filed bankruptcy with a bunch of debt. Guess what debt wouldn’t go on the bankruptcy? The student loan. Really? Yep. Something I learned that I didn’t get while I was at the University of Memphis was this; you can borrow your way to education…especially when it will not secure a job for you. There is not statistical correlation to your little Junior or Junette getting a job because he/she has a degree. There are currently millions of people with Master’s degrees that are working the battlefield called fast food. Not to say that education isn’t important. Right now, I am currently finishing up the Associates side of my degree. I am doing it on scholarships now. I am also debt free now. Going into student loan debt did not help me to graduate but it hindered me. I know, you’re thinking if you have children about sending those cherubs to school (or even going back to school yourself) and if you can’t take out a loan then what can you do. Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze give some great advice on how to fund your cherub’s education in the Smart Money, Smart Kids book.

  • The 529 Plan – It’s the big brother of the ESA and will allow you to put more into it in a mutual fund

  • Savings – ESA (Education Savings Account) which will allow you to put $2,000 per year per child. You can have it auto debited each month (166.66) into that account. What rocks? If you start from 0 to 18, you can save (with interest being approximate) 126,000. Good news? It grows tax free. .

  • Choose a State School – Most out of state schools charge an expensive fee for you going to another college out of state. There are some exceptions to the rule (some states have clauses where they will waive it for certain states. Look into it with the college you are looking to send your child to).

  • Scholarships- There are millions of dollars that go untapped every year for college students. For an example, I saw an ad in the paper to apply for a scholarship program through my school. I went online and filled out all the applications that I could fill. One of them that I did win was a bank scholarship that wasn’t advertised publically. You have to go and search for them.

There are some programs that you can buy to search these out. I am not skilled in these. However, do your research and check them out.


• FASFA- Proceed with caution but you can get a Pell Grant and other scholarships from this program. That’s how I was able to attend completely debt free the 2nd go around. Be careful not to choose the one where you have to pay it back.

• Pedigree- Many well meaning parents and some students believe that going to Yale or some high end school will ensure that someone will get a great job. This is a myth. There are schools that are less pricey and will save you money yet give you the same amount of education.

Our children are currently being taught the value of money and education. They are pretty young, but I know that they will remember when they go to school that it pays to go without debt. They won’t have a problem going to school without worrying about having to pay for it for years and years. I heard Dave Ramsey say often that most people “keep their student loans around so long they think it’s a pet.” Most pets….are more fun to play with.

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