Drowning in Student Loan Debt? Here are 5 Legitimate Ways Out

Part 3 of a 3-Part Series

This article is part 3 of a 3-part series on what students can do if they’ve left college with student loan debt.  You can find the  first two very important articles in this series here and here.

Every year, frightening numbers of students finish college with $30,000 – $90,000 in student loan debt – and then find themselves completely unable to find employment that pays enough to cover their student loan payments.

Many of these 20-somethings work as nannies, restaurant servers, and cashiers, jobs that barely pay enough to cover rent and groceries.

What can be done about this?  Simply not paying is not an option. (You can read about the scary consequences of student loan default here.)

If you’re a former college student and you find yourself in this position, here are 5 strategies that will help.

student loan debt

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7 Questions That’ll Help You Kiss Student Loan Debt Goodbye

Part 2 of a 3-Part Series

This article is part 2 of a 3-part series on what students can do if they already have student loan debt.  To read the very important article that was part 1 of this series, click here. To read part 3 of this series (the one about student loan forgiveness), click here.  

consolidate your student loans

In the first article in this series I explained the 7  important things that student loan borrowers need do immediately after leaving college.

I didn’t have room in that article for this very important to-do item:

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Got Student Loan Debt? 7 Things To Do RIGHT NOW.

Part 1 of a 3-Part Series

This article is part 1 of a 3-part series on what students can do if they already have student loan debt.  To see parts 2 and 3 of this series, click here and here. 

You recently left college for the working world, and the freedom feels great.

But wait.

Have you left college with any amount of student loan debt?

If you have, it’s important to do 7 things as soon as possible after you stop attending college classes.

(If you’ve been out of college for years and you’ve never done these things, do them now.)

student loan debt

 

1. List every debt you owe on one clean sheet of paper.

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“Help. Our Daughter’s Failing College. She’s Dropping Out.”

Actual Frantic Email I Received From A Mom Recently

What would you do if you found out that your son or daughter was failing college and dropping out?

Today I’m sharing the frantic email I received this week from the mother of a current South Carolina college freshman.

It’s my hope that this mom’s pain and heartache will light a fire under you to do everything you can to keep this from happening to your family.

(Subscribe to my free email newsletter using the form on this site, and I will help you.)

It’s also my hope that my answer to this mom will give you help and hope. This letter is used with permission. Details have been changed to protect confidentiality.

Remember, you can always find out your child’s current grades by waiting for him or her to ask you for money. When you get the money request say: “Sure, Honey. Would you just log me into the computer and show me all your grades first, though? I like to know what I’m investing in.” — Jeannie Burlowski

failing college

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Top 5 Lies We Tell Kids About College

Read This When Your Kid's in Middle School.

This post is a scary one. But read all the way down to the red print at the bottom and I’ll give you a boatload of hope about college.

college

1. “If you don’t get into a good college, you won’t be able to get a good job when you graduate.”

This statement is completely and utterly false. Let’s all be honest for just a minute. Don’t you know people who went to so-called “bad colleges” and they have great jobs? Let’s get even more honest. Don’t you actually know many, many, many people who went to so-called “bad colleges” and they have great jobs? Why do we purposely scare kids with this lie?

2. “You, of course, shouldn’t even consider technical school.”

The bias against technical school gets communicated to kids from the age of 12 on up in a thousand insidious ways.

The subtle message kids hear is: “Tech school is for kids who aren’t as smart as you.” “Tech school is for kids who can’t get into real college.” “We won’t even show you a catalog of job training programs available at a technical school. We don’t care if tech school would empower you to make really great money after only two years of training. We won’t even suggest the possibility of going to technical school first and then perhaps four-year college after that. You’re smart and you come from a good family — that automatically means four-year college or university for you.”

(To see my post on “Could Your Kid End Up Wealthier and Happier by Not Going to College?” click here.)

3. “Of course you’re going to take out $40,000 in student loans to go to college. Don’t worry, you’ll easily be able to pay those loans back with the excellent job you’ll get after you graduate.”

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Expensive Education Leads to a Happier Life. True or False? (The Answer Might Surprise You.)

Your 12th grader is in tears, desperate for you to give him the go-ahead to attend an elite university that’ll cost him $950 per month for 10 years after college. You want him to be happy. Do you say yes?

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Before you respond, you’ll need to be clear on the answer to this one question: “Is it really true that elite private education is so enriching that it automatically leads to a happier, more fulfilled life after college?” What does the research say?

In a 2014 NPR article entitled Poll: Prestigious Colleges Won’t Make You Happier In Life Or Work, Anya Kamenetz cites a Gallup survey of 29,650 college graduates of all ages that demolishes the argument that top college grads lead more fulfilling lives later in life.

Here are the top 6 surprises found in the Gallup data Kamenetz cites:

1. The college you attend doesn’t actually affect your future happiness after college. “When you ask college graduates whether they’re “engaged” with their work or “thriving” in all aspects of their lives,” Kamenetz writes, “their responses don’t vary one bit whether they went to a prestigious college or not.”

2. The college you attend doesn’t move the needle one bit on five separate measures of human happiness. Gallup pollsters asked college grads an array of questions designed to measure how well they were doing in regard to financial health, sense of purpose, physical health, financial security, close relationships, and community pride. The astounding finding? “(The results) did not vary based on whether the grads went to a fancy name-brand school or a regional state college, one of the top 100 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings or one of the bottom 100.”

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What Does ROMANCE Have To Do With Financial Aid?

It Turns Out, a LOT.

Well, Valentine’s Day is over for another year.  Tissue paper from wrapped gifts litters the bedroom floor, chocolates have been devoured, and pink and red greeting cards have been set up in display mode on the kitchen counter.

It’s now the day and the week after Valentine’s Day – time for romance to pull on work boots and get back into the trenches.

If you’re married, you probably understand well that though Valentine’s Day is nice, real romance is actually lived out every day, 365 days a year, in the normal course of every day, up-and-down, regular life.

Today, moms and dads, I’m going to talk about that regular old “365-day-a-year-romance” you have with your spouse, and what that has to do with your kid getting financial aid for college.

romance

Here’s the special message I have for you for today, parents:  Your marriage matters when it comes to your kid eventually getting financial aid for college.

“Seriously?  How does my marriage affect how much money my kid gets in financial aid for college?”

Because of idiosyncrasies with the CSS/Profile financial aid form, if you at some point decide to divorce your child’s other parent and marry someone else, your child will be disadvantaged in the financial aid process at the most competitive colleges in the country.

“Disadvantaged!  How so?”

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Your Kid Actually CAN Get Through College Debt Free

LAUNCH day

I’m always most able to inspire people when I talk to them face-to-face.

The video above gives me the chance to do that, for you, right now.

Click the play button above now; watch for just two minutes.

And let this excited, hopeful feeling wash over you:  Kids at all income levels actually can get through college debt free.

P.S.  I have exciting news:  Soon you’ll be able to hold and read my book LAUNCH:  How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward.  People are very excited about this book because when President Obama made his sweeping changes to the U.S. financial aid system on September 13, 2015, every other book on this subject was instantly out of date.  This book will be the first to contain comprehensive strategies for navigating President Obama’s changes.

What questions do you have about this?  Comment below, or LIKE “Jeannie Burlowski, Author” on Facebook and comment on this post there. Follow me on Twitter @JBurlowski.

Who is Jeannie Burlowski?

Jeannie is a full time author, academic consultant, and speaker.  She helps parents set their kids up to graduate college debt free and move directly into careers they excel at and love.  

TWO BIG QUESTIONS I’m Getting From Parents! (Hint: The Answer to the First One is Not “AP!”)

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Wow.  Wow!  The best way I can describe how I feel right now is – overwhelmed with gratitude.

Just a four days ago, on Dec 5, 2016, I announced that my book LAUNCH:  How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward is wrapping up and is going to be available for pre-purchase this month.

(If you missed the cool story on why this book’s launch date was moved into 2016 and how President Obama was involved in that, you can read it here.)

Today I want to answer two important questions parents asked me in the days following that post.

#1  What’s the very best way for students to earn inexpensive college credit in high school?

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SURVEY RESULTS ARE IN! Here are the Top Five Questions Parents Asked Me Last Week

On January 4th, 2016 I announced exciting news about my upcoming book LAUNCH:  How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward.

If you missed that exciting post, you can read it here.

In that post I asked my readers to complete a short survey designed to help me be sure that my book covers absolutely everything parents need to know about getting kids age 13-22 through college debt free.

The number of responses I got to that survey was absolutely overwhelming!

I got at least 60 times as many responses as I ever expected.  I feel stunned and humbled that so many people took time to jump in and help me with this!  If you were one of my responders — thank you so much!!!  For those of you who typed in detailed questions for me, I’ll be answering those in my future free email newsletter articles — so make sure you’ve subscribed using the form on this site and are opening my email newsletter every week.

(If you haven’t yet taken the survey, it’s not too late.  You can still let me know your biggest questions about debt free college by clicking here.)

barehandsup

Here’s a sneak peek at the top five biggest questions parents and grandparents are sharing with me — along with my responses:

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