4 Amazingly Easy Steps To Get Out Of Debt

If you as a parent are out of debt by the day your kid starts college, you’ll have more cash on hand to help with college bills. If you start the process of getting out of debt years before your kid starts college, you’ll have more cash on hand to save for college.

Either way, you’ll dramatically increase the chances that your child will graduate from college and begin adult life debt-free.

Today I’m featuring four amazingly easy steps to get out of debt, from best-selling author Dave Ramsey. These steps to get out of debt are so easy, you can fit them on a post-it note.

get out of debt

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My Top 10 Debt-Free College Articles of 2017

2017 was a year of explosive growth for my blog and weekly email newsletter readership. Parents, students, and financial planners began following me in numbers greater than I ever expected. Out of the more than 50 debt-free college articles I wrote that year, here are the top 10 that were most popular with my followers.

If you missed any of these, here’s your chance to catch up! Read to the bottom of this list to see the #1 most popular article I wrote all year.

#10. Hilarious Idea Makes Kids Eager to Apply for Scholarships

#9. Danger Ahead: Don’t Get This Kind of Student Loan

debt-free college articles

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5 Good Reasons to Take a Gap Year (And 2 Bad Ones)

Your child doesn’t seem quite ready for college yet. Would it be a good idea for him or her to take a gap year? Malia Obama did it, after all. Here are 5 good and 2 bad reasons for students to take a gap year between high school and college.

gap year

5 Good Reasons to Take a Gap Year

1. <Good Reason> Your son’s fallen into a pattern of being unwilling to work hard in high school.

Has he gotten mediocre grades? Is he dragging his feet on filling out college applications and applying for scholarships? Taking a gap year where he lives in a tiny studio apartment and works for peanuts can actually teach valuable life lessons that no college program can.

2. <Good Reason> It could do your son great good to learn what life without education or job training is actually like.

Here’s a good line for parents to practice saying: “Well, you’re welcome to live here at home with us, as long as you’re enrolled in (and succeeding in) a full time academic or job training program. If you’re going to stay out of college and work during this gap year, let’s go find you a small apartment you can rent!”

The struggle to pay for rent, food, transportation, and a cell phone may help your son feel eager to apply to (and work hard in) college or technical school at the next possible opportunity.

For more help on this subject, see this article I wrote on the 7 things every parent should carefully think through anytime kids over 18 ask to–or expect to–live with you.

3. <Good Reason> Colleges will still accept a student who takes a gap year. No problem.

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Genius Strategy for Giving $20 in COLLEGE SAVINGS As Holiday Gifts

I post this important article every December. This year, it contains a brand new resource! A free downloadable bonus article with super helpful information for grandparents. To get straight to the free downloadable article, click here:

How to Give College Savings As Gifts and Get Happy Hugs in Response

Most grandparents love to dote on their beloved grandchildren, but let’s face it. Older kids and teens are notoriously hard to shop for.

How can grandparents give a relatively inexpensive holiday gift that will be remembered with tears and great appreciation for years down the line?

No matter your income level or budget, Grandma and Grandpa, here’s an ingenious idea for deeply impacting the kids you love this holiday season.

grandma

This idea will help you to take the $20 you were planning to spend on a holiday gift, easily put that money into the best possible kind of college savings account, and still have something meaningful and beautiful for the child or teen to unwrap at your family’s holiday gathering.

All without nicking your own finances or damaging the teen’s future financial aid eligibility in any way.

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One Call Can Increase Admissions Chances 40%

Weeks or months after your daughter has finished up all her college applications, you may find yourself wondering, “Is there anything else she can do to increase admissions chances — well after her applications have been submitted?”

Yes there is.

Research shows that one phone call can increase admissions chances 40% at many colleges.

increase admissions chances

How can a phone call increase admissions chances?

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Got a Big Problem With Standardized Testing?

Here's Help.

Has your child taken the SAT or the ACT multiple times — but never scored anywhere near his or her ability level? This happens more often than you think. Some students just don’t do well with standardized testing, no matter how hard they try. Even though they’re going to make great college students and end up having wonderful careers.

So — what’s a parent to do?

standardized testing

You could try an inexpensive, self-paced prep course, or —

You might look at colleges that don’t require standardized testing.

There’s a growing sentiment across the US that standardized testing doesn’t actually help in the admissions process. More and more colleges every year are saying, “We don’t even want to look at standardized tests anymore.”

You can find a complete, alphabetized list of all the US colleges that don’t require standardized tests on Fairtest.org. There’s a massive number of them.

(Just stay away from “for-profit” colleges. To determine whether a college is “for profit” or not, look up its name on collegedata.com for free. If you see the word “PROFIT” in the search bar, pass that college up.)

Many very good colleges don’t look at standardized tests.

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Is It True You “Can’t Look At Your Kids’ College Grades”?

You’re bleeding money to pay for your son’s college. You hope he’s attending class, studying for exams, and getting help when he’s stuck. But is he? Some people say that you can never know for sure, because, “parents aren’t allowed to look at their kids’ college grades.” Is this actually true, though?

college grades

Nope. It’s not true at all.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. It is true that because of FERPA laws enacted in 1974, colleges can’t show you — or tell you — any academic information about your child. But here’s what can happen. Your child can tell you himself. The college student you love can log you in and show you that he or she is OK.

“But what if my kid doesn’t want to show me his college grades?”

Here’s my suggestion. Wait until he asks you for money.

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When to Call the College’s Disability Services Office

Are you parenting a college student with a disability of any kind? If you are, you need to know about the wonderful services offered by the disability services office on your child’s college campus.

disability services

Whether your child has a physical disability, a learning disability, a mental health disability, or any other kind of disability, the college’s disability services office will provide extraordinary, kind, supportive help.

“When should we first contact the college disability services office?”

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Can College Debt Hurt Academic Performance?

What Does the Research Say?

 

debt affects academic performance

There’s no question about it; the ability to focus and concentrate for extended periods is absolutely critical to college academic success.

In his outstanding book Deep Work, author Cal Newport says this about extended periods of focus and concentration: “Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. It’s like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy.”

Can student loan debt interfere with the focus and concentration necessary for doing “deep work”?

College students say yes.

In this article by college student Ashley Bulchandani on dailytarheel.com, she tells adults exactly how she feels. “As a current college student, I am personally struggling with college debt and paying off my loans.” She worries that, “debt accumulation can stress out students and lead to negative behaviors such as drinking, smoking, working a lot, and not focusing in class.” She points to research showing that, “excessive college debt results in overall low academic performance in college and low graduate school attendance.”

The happy news is that parents can help. A lot.

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Hear Me Speak At This Online Virtual College Fair — Nov. 1st!

You’d love to attend a college fair — where you get to choose from a menu of fantastic speakers, and stop by exhibit booths to talk to college admissions people.

But who wants to change out of sweatpants and drive all the way downtown?

Now, you and a student you love can attend a nationwide college fair in your pajamas! And hear me, Jeannie Burlowski, as keynote speaker at 7:00 pm Central Time (8:00 pm Eastern).

Just grab a computer or a phone with internet access, and join me for CollegeWeekLive’s Virtual College Fair on Wednesday, November 1st, 2017. There will be college-related activities happening all day long, from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm Eastern Time that day. Pop in for as much of the day as you’d like to, and then tune in to hear me, live from my office in Minneapolis, at 7:00 pm Central Time (8:00 pm Eastern).

The CollegeWeekLive Virtual College Fair is FREE, but preregistration is highly recommended.

Preregister for the Virtual College Fair now at Jeannie.CollegeWeekLive.com, and your son or daughter can qualify to win up to a $5000.00 scholarship.

online virtual college fair

After you preregister for the Virtual College Fair at the link above, you can get directly to my 7:00 pm Central Time live presentation by clicking here.

*Note: I have not vetted the content provided by the speakers at this Virtual College Fair. If you hear a speaker saying something you know I strongly advise against, such as, “get private loans — they are super helpful,” or, “don’t worry about career planning, just take random college classes to see what you’re interested in,” just smile and let that advice fly right over your head.

What will Jeannie Burlowski be speaking about at the Virtual College Fair on November 1st?

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