“Jeannie, I’ve been to 3 of your classes and love hearing you as well as reading your information. I value your opinion.
We have recently met with a person who we could pay to help our daughter navigate sophomore through senior year with FAFSAs, scholarships, choosing schools, etc.
I asked many informed questions because of the information you have taught me. Overall, he agreed with your stance on many things. However, he did say that applying for many scholarships early (i.e. middle school and early high school) can hurt the student’s chance of getting money from the institute they wish to attend. (Jeannie’s emphasis.) He said that he finds schools for students based on their interests/skills/location, but also who will give them the most financial aid. His take was that trying early for scholarships uses up a lot of time with little success, (Jeannie’s emphasis) and any that are won must be reported, thus decreasing financial scholarships/offers from the school of their choice later. (Jeannie’s emphasis.)
I am curious about this since we have been gearing up for searching/writing scholarship applications before late high school. We have not hired this person as of yet and would love any comment/advice you can give in regards to this point of view.”
A 35-year-old father of two recently contacted me in desperation, looking for help getting out from under $40,000 in student loan debt. “I’ve been paying $475 a month payments on this debt for years,” he said, “but because of interest piling up, I’ve hardly made a dent in it! I can’t buy a house; I can’t save for retirement; and we’re just scraping by every month, just barely able to pay our bills. Help!”
My advice to him was blunt. “You need to get aggressive,” I said. “Start doing insane, crazy things to pay this debt down as fast as possible.” I talked to him about finding an elderly person who needed a little help with home care and yard work, and moving his little family into one room in this person’s unfinished basement to save on rent. I talked to him about selling his nice car and taking Uber to the grocery store and public transportation to work. I talked to him about getting all of Amy Dacyczyn’s Tightwad Gazette books and adopting a whole bunch of her crazy, outrageous, creative strategies for saving money and paying down the principal on debt.
Parents, don’t let what happened to this man happen to your kid.
Then buy or rent the documentary and consider watching it with the teens in your family.
“Broke, Busted, and Disgusted” is guaranteed to light fire in your teens to do all they can to avoid student loan debt, and in you to do everything you can to get your kids through college debt-free and into jobs they love afterward.
To keep debt-free college at the top of your mind as your kids are growing up, subscribe to my “email updates” using the form on this site, and then open it every single time it lands in your email inbox. It always includes a valuable timely article, plus info on my speaking and online specialty classes. (Use the directions here to make sure your email provider always sends my emails straight to your email inbox.)
Don’t let your kids become a student loan statistic.
Buy (or rent) the entire 53-minute “Broke, Busted, and Disgusted” documentary here.
You can see the “Top 9 Questions Parents Are Asking Me About LAUNCH,” here.
Read just one chapter of LAUNCHevery 1–3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.
And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it—especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.
Do you have friends who are parenting kids ages 12–22?
SHARE this post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn right now.
What about you? What jumped out at you when you watched this trailer for Broke, Busted, and Disgusted?
What are your favorite strategies for helping kids avoid student loan debt? Comment below or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook, find this post on that page, and let’s talk about it there.
Who is Jeannie Burlowski?
Jeannie is a full-time academic strategist, author, speaker, and podcast host. Her writing, speaking, and podcasting help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directlyinto careers they excel at and love. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, USA Today, NerdWallet, and US News and World Report, and on CBS News.
Jeannie also helps students apply to law, medical, business, and grad school at her website GetIntoMedSchool.com. You can follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.
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 massive amounts of student loan debt—and then find themselves completely unable to find employment that pays enough to cover their student loan payments.
Many of these 20somethings 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 on student loan debt is not an option. (You can read about the scary consequences of student loan debt default here.)
If you’re a former college student and you find yourself in this position, here are 6 strategies that will help.