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Review: Debt-Free U by Zac Bissonnette

Here are two alarming facts:

  • Most university graduates have a huge student loan debt that negatively impacts their lives for many, many years.
  • Most parents do not have enough money to give their children an expensive university education without seriously jeopardizing their own financial well-being.

Few would argue, though, that young people should avoid college for financial reasons.  (I know of some who object on educational and moral grounds, but that is an entirely different matter.)

So what is the average family to do?  We don’t want to see our children saddled with huge debts that will negatively affect their marriages, parenting, house-buying, and other dreams.  Nor can we afford to pay for it all ourselves—and this is especially true for homeschooling families that often have several children and a single income.

Zac Bissonnette, personal finance expert for AOL Money& Finance and student at the University of Massachusetts, has written a book showing why debt-free post-secondary education is the way to go and how to make it possible.

He discusses

  • the dangers of student loans, how the US financial aid system penalizes students who want to pay for their own education, and how financial loan officers benefit from encouraging students to take out loans.
  • why expensive private colleges are a poor financial investment.
  • how to get an (idealized) Ivy League education at a less expensive public university.
  • the problems with the idea of college tours, the idea of a ‘good fit’ with a college, and stressing over the choice of a major.
  • why students should work during college.
  • and much more.

In an engaging style he defends these statements with both statistics and clear common sense.  They make sense.  They work.  Years ago, I followed most of the same ideas and obtained a Ph.D. with a total of $3000 in student loans…and  by being very frugal I had saved up enough to pay the loan off shortly after graduation.

If you have a student facing college, your family should read this book.  After graduation there will be space for joy, dreams, and financial freedom rather than debt-ridden anxiety.

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from our library.  If your library doesn’t have it, it is definitely a worthwhile investment for any family facing college.

Debt-Free U is my 33rd  book in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge.

For more frugal tips, see Works For Me Wednesday , Thrifty Thursday, and Frugal Friday.

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