Yep! That’s right! I graduated with 3 degrees, one of which is a M.B.A., without any student loans! The benefits of graduating without debt is prosperous and leads to financial freedom. Start off life on the right foot with these realistic tips!
Graduating without student loan debt gave me opportunities to invest that money elsewhere and move me toward a debt free life. If you want to be able to afford to move out of your parents’ house, buy a house of your own someday and pay for your wedding, continue reading How I Graduated College with NO Student Loans!
Unfortunately, many universities charge way too much for tuition especially for degrees that don’t pay a lot in the real world. This is misrepresented and just plain sad. Do your research! A job that starts out with no experience at $35k per year is not worth a $150K student loan! Plain and simple.
There’s a lot of talk about congress passing laws for debt forgiveness and as a tax payer, I don’t want to pay for irresponsible financial behavior for others for the rest of my life! Colleges, universities and students should be responsible for this, not tax payers!
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How I Graduated College with NO Student Loans!
First, I did not have parents to pay for my college. By my second semester of college, both of my parents were deceased. I had no parental financial help with living expenses let alone college. I had to work full time to make a living so, I decided to go to college at night instead.
Then, I started at a really good community college (Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, PA) and later transferred to an accelerated program at Immaculata University in Immaculata, PA, where I received my dual major degree in two years while working full time. I’ll get to that soon.
One of my first full time jobs was a bank teller. The bank had 100% tuition reimbursement for all business classes. I just had to pay for my books, which I purchased used at the campus bookstore. I even liked used books because other students had highlighted the important sentences already. No torn pages either.
At that time, I only took the business classes that were 100% reimbursed until I could find a better job. After networking with people at The Vanguard Group, a company I was set on working at, I was offered an entry level position at one of the best financial companies in the Philadelphia area. This was a HUGE opportunity for me and it paid off BIG!
Vanguard had 100% tuition reimbursement of ALL the classes I needed for a business degree plus 100% of books with grades A and B and 50% for grade C! Jackpot!
I was now able to get even my non-business classes reimbursed. I transferred to an accelerated program so I could earn 3 credits every 5 weeks (even through the summers) and graduate in two years. This was amazing! Going the traditional path, it would have taken me many years to get all of the credits I needed.
Where to Buy and Sell Used Books
You may be able to buy used text books at your college campus. You can buy used books on Amazon and sell them back on Amazon Marketplace. Ebay.com is another place you can sell and buy books too.
How I Obtained a Second College Degree With No Student Loans
I found out that if I took all of my electives as the core classes for Information Technology for Business major, I could graduate with a dual major. I didn’t have to take any additional classes for the second bachelor’s degree. Another score. My employer paid for the dual major at 100% tuition and books! As I was working toward my bachelor’s degree, I got promoted and moved over to the technology group.
Because my employer paid for my books at 100%, I bought new books, used them and then sold them back to the campus bookstore for half price. Sometimes, I’d walk out with $200 selling back my books! Another score!
After two years, I graduated with a business management degree and Information Technology for Business degree with no student loans. I didn’t even have to stay at the company for any length of time after obtaining my degrees and so I left and went to another local financial company.
Employer paid: $25,000
I paid: $0.00
I quickly started looking for a job elsewhere for more pay in a higher position. Within a few months, I was hired at SEI Investments, Inc. with a 25% increase in base salary as a project manager! And guess what? This company also had 100% tuition reimbursement! They paid 100% for my M.B.A.!
How Did I Get a M.B.A. With No Student Loans?
Because I was still single with no children, I decided to continue the momentum and go on for an M.B.A. I only need 11 classes because, I already had a business undergraduate degree. It’s foolish to give up a FREE college education!
I completed the M.B.A. program at St. Joseph’s University at a satellite campus. The program was not accelerated but, I took summer classes so I could get done sooner. It took me 2 1/2 years to finish.
Graduate classes were a lot more work but, I acclimated quickly. It took a lot of hard work and discipline. I’d spend most of my weekends doing school work. I remember leaving a party once to go to a summer class. Oh, the sacrifices we make to better our lives.
I was promoted while taking the M.B.A. classes. I saw the correlation between getting my education and a bigger salary. It was really paying off!
Employer paid: $25,000
I paid: $0.00
THAT’S $50K FOR 3 COLLEGE DEGREES! I PAID NOTHING!
What are the Benefits of No Student Loans?
- Invest more of your money into a 401K.
- Save money to put down on a house
- Save money to buy a car.
- You’re one GIANT step closer to living a debt free life.
- You’ll have money to live on your own.
- You’ll have money to pay for your wedding. and honeymoon.
You don’t want a mound of student loans hanging over you when you’re just starting out in life.
Do you want to STILL be paying off student loans in your 40s when you have a family to support?
Sadly, I know people in this position and they aren’t able to save much, if anything for their own retirements. It’s a scary position to be in.
You may think working full-time while going to college isn’t the “college experience” you had in mind but, if you really want a college education, you’ll think about at what cost the college experience is worth to you. If you can’t find a job that will pay for all of your college tuition, then look for scholarships and grants to fill in the gaps.
Already Have Student Loans?
Some companies will pay for your existing student loans. When you are job hunting, ask if they will pay so much money toward you’re student loans. Negotiate! It is definitely worth asking.
I personally know someone who has gone from job-to-job with each employer paying thousands of dollars toward his student loans. He became a physician and as a result had a mountain of student loan debt ($300k) well into his thirties which, made it very hard for him to afford to save for retirement.
Related: How to Make Extra Cash Fast to Pay Off Debt and How I paid off $40k in Student Loans in 7 Months
In short, do everything you can to minimize, if not eliminate, the need for student loans. You can get a quality education without going to high tuition schools. Consider state schools or even starting at a community college and transferring to a university after one or two years. Make good, sound financial decisions when you’re young, and they will pay off for you the rest of your life! If you can graduate with no student loans, you’ll be more likely to live with financial freedom, not filled with debt and anxiety. Graduating college with no student loans just may bring you closer to living the life of your dreams.
Companies like Starbucks and Best Buy have tuition reimbursement. There are many big companies that offer this benefit. Consider tuition reimbursement when you’re looking over the job offer. If you plan to go on for a master’s degree or finish a bachelor’s degree, tuition reimbursement may make it worth taking lower pay.
33 Companies That Can Save You From College Debt
15 Companies That Help Employees Pay for College
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Where to Find Scholarships
Scholarship Owl is a great place to look for scholarships. You just enter some information about yourself and they’ll match you to scholarships in which you qualify. Fast Web Scholarships and Cappex are other good sites to find scholarships. You can find many other scholarships online.
This book The Ultimate Scholarship Book: Billions of Dollars in Scholarships, Grants, Prizes is a best seller on Amazon! Find ones in which you qualify and start applying!
If you’re a high school student looking for ways to pay for college or the parent, there are many ways to pay for college without taking out large amounts of student loan debt that you’ll be paying off into your forties. Make good decisions now for a financially secure future!
Joanne Schweitzer says
Thank you Margarita! You’re pretty incredible too!
Margarita Swartz says
What a great article I will pass it to my kids and all their friends very incredible what you did congratulations!
Yeah, it can save some money for sure!
Laura Morgan says
What a helpful article! I wish I had gone to community college before I chose where to get my Bachelors degree!