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Debt-Free U: by Zac Bissonnette - Book Review

Jun 6, 2012

There is a book I recently read called "Debt-Free U: How I Paid For An Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, Or Mooching Off My Parents" by Zac Bissonnette. Zac is the new poster child for a debt free college education. I can see he will soon be on all the morning shows hawking his new book. He is presently in a public college and paying cash.

Zac's premise is that if you pick an affordable school, live within your means and work during college, college without loans, financial aid or parents looting home equity or retirement accounts is within reach. Zac knows because that's what he's presently doing.

Here's the math on going to college, according to "The College Board", public four-year colleges charge an average of $7,020 per year in tuition and fees, plus another $7,404 for room and board. That's a total of $14,424 per year.  


Most families qualify for a tax credit of $2500 on the first $4000 in college expenses. So after tax that $14,424 is really $11,924. If you break it down it's $229.31 per week. Then divide that in half makes it $115 for the child and $115 for the parents. Not bad seems manageable. Nearly all colleges allow you to pay monthly over the course of the semester. So you can really cash flow college.

If the child works during the summer 40 hours plus and at least 20 hours a week during the school year at $8.00 per hour, it comes to $11,200 per year.

34 weeks work 20 hours per week at $8.00/hour = $5440
18 weeks work 40 hours per week at $8.00/hour = $5760

According to Zac Bissonnette, junior will only need half of that total because Mom and Dad will pay the other half. So junior has plenty of money for other things.

Included in this scenario is that it is assumed you start out with no savings. If Mom and Dad did save it would make it a little easier. It's assumed you received no financial aid or grants. According to the website knowhow2go.com 60% of students qualify for grant aid to the extent of $3,300 per year for four year public colleges and $1,800 for two year public colleges. That's a big help. Also assumed the student stays on campus, no private housing.

The only problem with this plan is that it's a lot of work. With today's tough economy, are you willing to work hard to stay out of debt.

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