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Confession: I Avoided the Millennial Curse

   Posted On: April 23, 2013  |    Posted In: Debt  |     Posted by: Broke Millennial®

Two weeks ago an astute reader commented on my post “Dealing with the B word” saying, “No student loans? Wow, you are very VERY lucky.” He had noticed my monthly budget doesn’t account for any sort of loan payment. That’s right folks, I’m a millennial anomaly. I’m 23 and I’ve never been in debt.

Sumo Bona Sweatshirt
I lived in Asia from 10 – 18 years old.

My reader is right, I am lucky. In 2012 the average millennial graduated with $27,000 in student loans. According to a Forbes article, this is a 58 percent increase from grads in 2005 who amassed $17,233 of debt. But the reason I’m “very VERY lucky” is because I made my college selection based on finances.

In April of 2007 I thought my choice had been made. In fact, the deposit had already been sent to Wake Forest University. Wake Forest seemed perfect. Small enough a professor might actually know me, but big enough to have a football team and thriving Greek life system. And best of all, it was in North Carolina (my home state). It seemed like a college where I could live a traditional “American college experience.” Granted, this was coming from a girl who hadn’t lived in America since fifth grade.

Then, my dad called a meeting.

Sitting down at our formidable dining room table I faced my dad who proceeded to slide a “bill” across the table. I always knew I’d be financially responsible for a portion of my education, but naively I’d neglected to ask just how much was expected from me.

It’s too festive to look formidable here. But take the decorations away and that’s one scary table!

He went on to explain if I attended Wake Forest I would be financially responsible for 50 percent of my education. I didn’t qualify for any financial aid and there were no scholarship offers on the table. Looking down at the bill I saw the devastating number  fifty percent of a Wake Forest education would cost. 80,000 dollars. I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me.

80,000 dollars of debt seemed insurmountable. I planned to be a journalism and theater double major. $80,000 wasn’t even a realistic expectation for two or even three years of income in either of those fields. $80,000 could take me a decade, maybe even two, to pay off. $80,000 just wasn’t do-able. I looked at him and said, “So, what are my options?”

Then he slid another “bill” across the table. I could go to school and come out debt free, if I went to St. Bonaventure University. St. Bonaventure is a small Catholic school in Western New York. My mother and all eight of her siblings went there. My grandfather had been a revered English professor and golf coach for half a century. He was known as “Mr. Bonaventure.”

My grandfather passed away years before my college decision, but he’s enshrined in the golf team’s trophy case. I took a graduation picture with him.

I’d applied to Bonas as the obligatory safety school all school counselors require. It was in Western New York. It was too cold there. They didn’t even have a football team or Greek life. It wasn’t what I wanted in a college experience. In short, I had no plans to attend, until my dad slid that bill across the table.

St. Bonaventure offered me a fifty percent academic scholarship. Fifty percent, the magic number amount I owed for my college education. Assuming I kept the scholarship all four years, my parents would pay the other 50 percent and I could come out debt free.

We’ve reached the part of the story where I’m an ungrateful brat and run upstairs crying and slam my door several times for good measure. Instead of being grateful my parents could afford fifty percent with ease, I felt resentful they weren’t willing to pay for my education in full. I resented the limitations my financial responsibility put on my decision process. I could easily have picked Wake Forest and accepted the financial responsibility, but if you’ve read any of my previous posts you know what happened next. Eventually, I dried my tears and made the rational decision. In August of 2007 I became a Bonnie.

So yes, I am lucky. I’m lucky to have evaded the millennial curse and managed to graduate debt free. But, I also worked hard, academically, to be lucky. I made an emotionally difficult decision in order to be lucky. I elected to make a decision based on my financial future. I didn’t get the college experience I’d dreamed of, but so far I’ve been able to live a life I dreamed of and St. Bonaventure helped me get here.
With parents at graduations

(Four years later there were no hard feelings.)

IMG_1285_2(I even professed my love for my mom, dad and sister on my grad cap.)


(Don’t worry. Some of it was a “traditional American college experience.”)

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79 responses to “Confession: I Avoided the Millennial Curse

  1. I don’t have loans either – I had a full tuition scholarship. It must be difficult in the States though with how your universities work. Prestige vs the smart financial move … not an easy decision.

    1. That’s really great you got out debt free too! It is really can be struggle in the States for people get through college without debt.

  2. “Prestige vs the smart financial move … not an easy decision.”

    You can have both. I went to a state school that is one of the best in the country (and world for that matter) in Engineering. Total cost for my 5 years (yes it took me 5 years since I engineering can be a little hard) was around $45K. My parents did pay for the entire thing and I am forever grateful for that. I know people who paid their own way there and don’t regret it for one second when they were being offered jobs starting in the mid $50K to low $70K range when then graduated. So it is possible to have both, but sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

    1. Yes, some people get the advantage of having both and it’s really amazing America has such stellar state schools. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to great state schools. For example, while I am American I grew up overseas and didn’t have state residency during my college application process. Even though I lived in North Carolina before I moved I wouldn’t have been considered “in-state” for UNC. I would have paid out-of-state tuition and competed in the out-of-state pool for acceptance. Certainly true like you said, right place at the right time.

      1. I was out of state for the awesome state school I went to. Total bill was $60k. I got $30k in merit scholarships, my parents paid $15-20k, and I paid $10-15k.

        I could have gone to MIT. That would have been more than $120k and likely ZERO scholarships. Did not make financial sense.

  3. My parents did pay for my college in full, which is a gift that the recipient really cannot appreciate until they start hearing stories from others about how they struggled to pay their student loans. I remember Mr. 1500 writing his last student loan payment – still one of the happiest checks we have ever written. I think the happiest ever will be the one that pays off the mortgage, and I think I will actually write that one instead of paying online.

    Honestly, I still don’t think I fully appreciate the gift my parents gave me. I certainly didn’t choose the right school or the right major. Fashion Design wasn’t a good choice. I wish I would have been pushed into business or something.

    Good for your dad to show you your options, and amazing for you to have the maturity to make the right choice.

    Love the new site! Congratulations on your self hosted site!

    1. Thanks! I’m still getting the hang of the new layout and I’m sure I have some tweaking to do, but it’s exciting to be on a self hosted site.

      My story tends to get some really mixed reactions from my fellow millennials. A lot of people feel parents should have to pay for tuition in full, especially if they can afford it. I see their point, but I certainly was more invested in my college education because I had a financial stake. I would have worked hard either way, but really wanted to get the most out of it because I was “paying” for half.

      And 18 is such a young age to be deciding our futures! A lot of people pick majors that don’t seem like the right fit 5, 10 or 20 years later. But college isn’t just about the learning inside the classroom! 🙂

      1. I totally agree that people need to have finacial responsibility when it comes to their education. I’ve educated myself in finace, and I’m really happy to have found your blog.

        This is my story: I have a twin brother, who for medical reasons was a year behind me in school, starting in 1st grade. I picked a moderately expenisve school, Emerson College, to study Arts Management. Emerson doesn’t actually have an arts management program, I DIYed the whole thing. Finances were never discussed. Emerson did not give me ANY financial aid. My mom paid for my whole first year. My dad bought me a refurbished lap top when I asked him for a computer (no specific request). My brother, because of poor grades, was unable to get into his dream school,SVA,so he started at BMCC. When he started school my mom told me I had to get loans because she had to pay for my brother. She bought him a brand new mac book and a bunch of fancy graphic design software that he never even installed. She paid for 2.5 years of community college and 2.5 years of SVA when he eventually got in. He failed classes at both schools. One of them was the graphic design class he didn’t do any work in.

        When my brother got into SVA, his tuition tripled and my mom demanded that I pay her back for the first year of school. And because I was working 4 part time jobs, I was able to do it before I graduated. And I graduated with $35k in loans.

        The whole point is that my brother didn’t care that he failed that graphic design class because he didn’t do any work. He has no sense of financial responsibility. And because he’s an artist I dont think my mom will get paid back like she did with me.

  4. That’s awesome! It’s usually so tough to convince an 18-year-old to not just pick the fanciest name school that’s accepted them.

    It’s particularly true for those kids who are looking at careers with low upsides in a material sense (though potentially enormous upsides in a psychic sense)

    I also left undergrad with no debt thanks to a couple years on scholarship+stipend, and getting to pay crazy low in-state tuition the other two years. It’s bad to think that I could be in even more debt now…

    1. I’ve been pretty motivated by finances for a long time. I’m really grateful coming out debt free was an option for me. And my future salaries played a large role in my decision. I wasn’t under a delusions about landing a high paying job post-graduation. I was excited to just get any job!

      It would be really hard to struggle with student loans on top of the financial burden of living here in New York. I’m sure you feel the same.

  5. So jealous! I seriously pay about 25% of my monthly income in loan payments and that’s on the graduated repayment plan. Anyways as an “astute reader” I did find a typo 😉 “slid” should be “slide,” your “e” key must be a bit sticky or something.

    Anyways, good post!

    1. Astute indeed! Thanks for the catch. I always appreciate being able to go back and edit typos. Damn that sticky “e” key!!

  6. I don’t think you were lucky, I think you were extremely wise, strategic, and a hard worker! I might have to check back a few posts, but did you grow up in Japan?

    1. Thank you, Anna! And yup, I grew up in Japan and China from ages 10-18. If you read the post about travel “Find the Glamour in Greyhound” I talk about it a bit.

  7. I was just wondering why your dad didn’t suggest a cheaper, yet still prestigious in-state school like UNC or NCSU? Surely their tuition for in-state students would have been cheaper than a private school in another state.

    1. You may not have seen my response to a previous comment, but while I am American I grew up overseas and didn’t have state residency during my college application process. Even though I lived in North Carolina before I moved I wouldn’t have been considered “in-state” for UNC. I would have paid out-of-state tuition and competed in the out-of-state pool for acceptance.

      State schools are a great option for Americans who live in the US during the application process though!

      1. Oh, ok sorry I missed that. That makes sense.

        P.S. I think MTV should give you and other Millenials a show where you teach others about money.

  8. Sounds like you made a great decision. Most people don’t even take finances into account when getting into college which is terrible. I didn’t get out of college completely clean, but it did take me less than 2 years to pay off the loans, so I feel like I made a relatively decent decision as well. The difference in college choices for me wasn’t as drastic of a financial difference.

    1. Debt free in two years is awesome! I definitely made the right choice for me, but I do understand why people decided to go to a “name-brand” college over a smaller, cheaper school. A lot depends on your major as well. The education difference was minimal at best between the two so picking a better known school would have been silly.

  9. I’m so happy you dried your tears and made the right financial decision lady 😀 College and all it’s experiences is what YOU make out of it, regardless of the actual school. Entering the real world after graduating debt-free is amazing!
    I’m loving the new look of the blog too! Yay smiles all around 😀

    1. Me too! I completely agree with you. College really is about the experience you create and luckily I found some amazing people there, had a fun time and received a great education. Couldn’t really ask for much more, except maybe a football team… 😛

      And I’m loving the new site too!

    1. Thanks! I know I’m blessed to have avoided the noose, but if I go to grad school then I’ll get to suffer!

  10. Love the new look :).

    I went to a state school with a partial scholarship, but I still ended up with a bunch of loans. A chunk of those went to finance my lifestyle which, believe it or not, was not that glamorous. I think I spent like $10,000 on eating out — but I can’t be sure because I didn’t track anything back then! No vacations, no fancy clothes. Just the dumbest stuff I could’ve spent money on.

    Ah, to be young…

    1. It’s shocking how expensive state schools are these days. Obviously much cheaper than private, but still pretty pricey. Glad you’re working your way out of debt now instead of keeping your head in the sand. Plus your posts are just so fun to read!

  11. My wife and I have a lot of student loans that we are now dealing with paying down. It’s hard for me to imagine NOT having those monthly outflows in my bank account. It’s great you aren’t in debt from school, but for us it’s already a done deal and there’s no point on looking back at how we “could” have gone through the experience with no debt.

    1. I agree, there is no point in looking back. We all make decisions about our educations and deal with them. In debt, or not in debt, most people make sacrifices when it comes to a college education. A few are lucky enough to pick any place they want and not have to worry about cost, but those situations are rare. Best to just embrace our choices and make the best of them.

  12. Love it! Same boat 🙂 basically…the EXACT same boat except replace Bonas with Marymount and replace Wake Forest with George Washington University. Good times 🙂

    But at the end of the day I am thankful for my college degree and the fact that I am debt free. May not have joined a sorority like I wanted too, may not have gone to football games (heck, I went to plenty…just at the Naval Academy instead…uh…BETTER!), and may not have experiences “homecoming” the “real way”….but it’s worth it now!

    1. I think we feel the same way. 🙂 We got great educations and met wonderful people. You even met your husband! 😛

  13. That is a shame since UNC is an amazing school (had some friends who went there and my grandpa went there). Would you have chosen UNC if you would have been considered an in state student?

    1. It’s hard to say Brian. To be honest, I try not to contemplate the “what if” factors and just look forward. UNC is an amazing school, but there are also major advantages to going to a small school.

  14. Nice move! I’m impressed with Wake Forest’s small size and huge athletics. I don’t know how they do it.

    Not graduating with debt provides a huge head start. Did you ever pontificate the different opportunities if you had graduated from WF now? Remind me again what you’re up to in NYC?



    1. Honestly, I don’t think Wake would have given me an edge. Bonaventure is serious about being a huge family and the network, especially post-graduation, is unreal. All of my major job/internship opportunities have been through St. Bonaventure connections. I interned for CNN while in college and worked for The Late Show with David Letterman right after graduation (hence the move to NYC). Now, I work in PR and it was a fellow Bonnie who got in me the door there as well. The college experience is truly what you make of it.

  15. Great post! Not only an entertaining read but a very valuable lesson as well. I commend you (and your parents) on being so fiscally responsible at such a young age. Too many of us take a “cross that bridge when I get to it” approach as young people. The only problem with that is not truly realizing the tolls you place on your future self.

    1. Thanks! I’m blessed to have parents who are financially literate and found it important to pass it on. Drama of the decision aside, it was certainly the right one for me and I’m glad to be debt free.

  16. Congratulations on graduating debt free, that is really awesome! I was lucky enough to graduate debt free as well and it is awesome. I think we owe it to others to share the message so they now that going to a less expensive school is not the end of the world!

    1. As the post indicates, I 100% agree! I understand the desire to go “name brand” but sometimes it’s important to asses the finances first!

  17. I understand how hard a decision this was for you, so kudos on making the right one! During my junior/senior year in high school, my classmates made it seem like going to an in-state school was an inferior choice. As an impressionable and insanely hormonal teenager, I was embarrassed to admit that I had no other option given how costly out-of-state tuition is. I’m lucky because Colorado has great colleges like CSU and CU, but I remember what that pressure felt like and it was not fun. Thanks to the generosity of my parents, tuition reimbursement from my employer and two years of hefty payments, I am similarly debt-free. 🙂

    1. Props to being debt-free too! I addressed in earlier comments that as an American living overseas I didn’t have the option of a state school, but they are often a great choice! Kudos back at ya for having the backbone to pick a school that was great financially (and hopefully otherwise).

  18. Congrats on the new website! I also avoided the millennial debt curse through a combination of scholarships and awesome parents. Its such a weird position to be in at age 24.

    1. It really is an odd position to be in at (well I’m a month shy of 24) so early 20s! We are certainly in the minority. It is often just assumed all millennials have debt, which made this post necessary in the first place.

  19. What a great story! It was clear from your Financial Literacy Awareness post that you had a great family, but this certainly cements it! And you wouldn’t have been a normal teenager had you not yelled at your parents and slammed the door. It was sort of your job to do that! 🙂 I think far too many kids go to college without really understanding the debt they will assume afterwards. It’s not that they shouldn’t go to college, but they do need to be prepared to handle it afterwards and most really struggle. Just like you did – parents and kids need to take a look at what college costs and make sure it makes sense for what they want to do. Great post and I’m glad you don’t have student debt hanging over your head!

    1. Thank you so much for those kind words Shannon! I’m really glad I don’t have the debt hanging over my head either. It really justifies the decision I made. I truly can’t see another education having been worth $80k.

  20. You’re so lucky that you have financially literate parents. My sister is graduating in May of this year with almost no debt since my mom was an employee at the school she attended. But my sister has the option now, to either attend one of the university’s sister schools for free for their graduate program, or another out of state grad school at full cost. My mom didn’t fight her on it at all, and now my sister is going from a $0 Undergrad to a $50k (at least) Graduate degree.

    I like the new site Erin. It’s really starting to come together!

    1. I understand the urge to pick the fancier school. I certainly wanted to for a while, but when push came to shove it wasn’t worth it. Hopefully, your sister does find it to be worth it though. $50k is pretty steep. It’s really awesome that the tuition exchange program covers grad school degrees too and not just undergrad.

  21. You’re a smart cookie. I look at so many of my college students and wonder what they were thinking when they signed up for their huge college debt burden. During their freshman and sophomore years it doesn’t seem to phase them, but somewhere in the midst of junior year the reality that they’ll eventually have to PAY for the education they’re getting starts to set in. By senior year, there’s full-out trapped expressions. Their resulting job and career choices are dependent upon that debt load, which makes me sad and discouraged.

    1. That’s the best kind of cookie to be! It really must be an awful feeling to get pigeon-holed into a job just because you need to pay off debt, especially in our current job market. We’ve really created a culture about craving the “brand” of a school instead of evaluating the financial and other pros/cons of attending. Glad people like you are out there to try and coach young millennials about making wise decisions!

  22. Digging the new look! Clean and simple! Just went through a visual update myself!

    As a fellow millennial, although a few years older than you, I was fortunate enough to graduate with no debt. My parents also had the same 50/50 arrangement with us in regards to paying for school. Fortunately, some scholarship money, near full-time employment, and graduating early helped me to avoid any debt.

    That being said, when I got married to my now ex-wife, I had the unfortunate pleasure of adding almost $70k of student loans to my financial picture at the time. Addiing to it were the dismal financial prospects of someone where her degree, religious studies. Combined, that was more than enough of a kick to the face to help me realize how fortunate I had been to not have any debt of my own and to have graduated with an accounting degree that has more than paid for itself.

    1. Thanks! I’m digging it too! Took a lot of frustration for me to get here because I’m not super tech savvy (*gasp*) but I’m really glad I did it.

      Taking on someone’s debt in marriage is such a tricky topic. It’s been pretty popular around the personal finance blogs as of late and there are certainly many different opinions.

      It’s great you had such a practical major that translated into dollars. Neither of mine particularly translate into immediate jobs, but I’ve been pretty fortunate to network my way into employment and I’ve been gainfully employed since graduation. I also worked a couple of odd jobs when I first move to New York to help keep the lights on. Surprisingly, working as a page for The Late Show doesn’t pay much…

  23. I am not tech savvy either, and it was a month long process in frustration and head banging!

    Very tricky, and probably something I will talk about as well. An unfortunately reality of life for many people. Certainly it was a financial gain by no longer being in that relationship, but it was more than offset by some other things, like my unintentional rental property.

    Haha surprised by the low pay as a page for the Late Show? Pretty obvious where all the money goes! 🙂 And networking is the golden ticket these days. The more people looking out for you, the better.

  24. This is so similar to my story. My Dad went to Cornell and I grew up in its shadow in Upstate NY. I worked my tail off academically in high school, and I was accepted there. No financial aid, no scholarships, and my Dad explained the same thing — that there would be a lot of debt. Instead, I chose to go to a liberal arts college in Western New York (I’m quasi-anonymous so saying which one would kind of blow it, but it’s not far from St. Bonaventure). They offered me a 50% scholarship, my parents paid the other 50%, and I had no debt when I graduated.

    I think that, as another commenter pointed out, you can have both affordability and prestige. My undergrad was a no-name school, but I excelled there due to personal attention from professors, and I ended up with a great job after graduation to gain some experience, and ended up with a full ride through a masters program at a school that…let’s just say is a little better than Cornell. 🙂

    Where our stories differ is that I am in debt now, though I am coming out of it at a reasonable pace. No excuses, it is all my own fault because my parents taught me better. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading your story! 🙂

    1. Hmmm, what is this school you mention?! I do anticipate being in debt if I end up going to grad school, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Thanks for reading!

  25. Hi there!
    I came over from Twitter to check out your blog, I like the article. I think what you said about being “lucky” was great. Yes, your parents were able to pay 50% of your tuition, but like you said, you made a difficult choice and got the grades to keep yourself out of debt.
    You made a good decision, you worked hard to finish school, and you came out ahead because of these things. So yes, it was “free” but only because you worked it! Nicely done.

    1. Thank you! I really appreciate your comment. I do feel very blessed to be 23 and void of any debt. Tough choices were made, but they certainly ended up being the best decisions for me.

  26. I think you made a wise and rational decision. Your parents guided you in making that decision. I was kind of lucky too, I went to a state school and my tuition wasn’t that high (even though it went up by 10% every year I was there). I have a cousin who is about to go to pharmacy school and will be owing about $120K in student loans after she graduates! I implored her parents and her that she was not making a good decision but I think my advice fell on deaf ears. We are getting to a point where the costs of college are outweighing the benefits.

    1. Thanks! I think my parents actually disagreed a bit over the decision, but in the end it was the right move. Many states have great schools and residents have the luxury of an easier application process and lower tuition rates. However, you’re absolutely right that the cost of education may soon be outweighing the benefits if we aren’t careful. Some levels of debt just isn’t practical if your future salary won’t be able to compensate for the cost.

  27. Sounds very similar to me. I was going to apply to Notre Dame, but my parents crunched the numbers with me and I opted not to apply. My family had the same agreement – 50% on me, 50% on them. I did come out of school with just a little bit of debt, but it was paid off within the year.

    My wife made a similar decision in attending the University of Pittsburgh on full scholarship. We need it because her med school loans are ridiculous, so it is nice to at least not have to worry about undergrad debt.

    1. Med school bills, I can’t even imagine! At least the the odd of a high salary is pretty solid. It’s hard to imagine going into six figure debt for a low salary. Glad the two of you were able to make great financial decisions for undergrad!

  28. Jesus, your parents did an awesome job with you for the first 17 years of life! I am POSITIVE 18 year old Evan wouldn’t have made the same choice. Notwithstanding my parents picked up the undergrad Bill but Law school is/was on me.

    1. Well, I thank you on behalf of my parents! I am blessed to have been raised with financially literate parents who believed in instilling those principles in me.

  29. That probably wasn’t an easy choice to make, but it was the right one. Everyone wants the full college experience when they graduate, but that can come with a cost. you did the smart thing.

    1. Thanks Holly! I’ve been pretty chipper about it for the past two years! Many of my friends went straight to grad school and are starting to panic about the loan payments headed their way in the next 6+ months.

  30. That’s such a hard decision that most of us probably didn’t even consider. It must have been hard but I’m glad it worked out for you in the long run! My student loans start coming in this summer, but they should be relatively small so I’m not a complete loss!

  31. No way! My family is from that area! So many of my aunts/uncles/cousins are Bonnies. I get so excited every time they even make March madness.

    You definitely made the right decision. I wish my parents had sat down with me with a bill before I started. I had researched it, but I think all three of us were in some type of la-la land where we figured everything would just magically work out somehow. I’m graduating without debt, but it was an expensive lesson.

  32. I remember the second hurdle, after being accepted to schools, was learning what financial aid they were willing to offer. Ironically, USC was by far the most generous – even outdoing the state colleges I applied to as safeties. But even with a half tuition scholarship, I still had to take out some loans. Compared to the national figures, my debt is manageable, but the payments can still be problematic whenever work is slow.

    Personally, I don’t think debt is inherently bad. I think the key is determining what level of debt you can comfortably live with until the payments are complete. If USC was going to cost over $40,000 in loans, I would have bitten the bullet and gone with a more affordable option. Same logic goes into why I don’t plan on buying a car anytime soon.

  33. I know this is an old post, but I thought it was a great article so here are my three thoughts!

    1) I applaud you for being debt-free. Not many people take that into consideration because (virtually) every college’s sticker price so is so high that they talk themselves into thinking that’s normal. Now, they’re saddled with debt they can’t afford.

    2) Interesting that your parents chose to be responsible for 50%. I’m never sure where I stand on who is responsible for tuition. Colleges use parental income to calculate financial aid, so on the one hand I feel like there is parental responsibility, but on the other it makes sense that a student should (at least partially) fund their own education.

    3) Don’t discount the “name brand” education–I feel like you came across as a bit inadvertently dismissive here. A lot of people assume elite colleges come with elite prices, but Harvard, Yale, and Princeton have the best financial aid in the country. Obviously, they’re incredibly competitive to get into, but it’s worth the effort in terms of the savings. I point this out because if someone is a reasonable applicant, they should absolutely try. My guidance counselor discouraged me from applying to the elite liberal arts college I was set on because I qualified for academic scholarships that would have made the state university free. I applied anyway, and, while higher, the cost was significantly less than the sticker price of a state university.

    Also, colleges often have net price calculators available in their website, which prospective students should definitely use!

  34. I think your dad is one of the coolest parents on the planet. Instead of encouraging you to get into unmanageable debt straight out of high school, he helped you to understand what you were getting yourself into before it happened.

    I went through a similar thing this time last year when we were all choosing universities and I was dismayed that none of my class mates had any idea (or cared) about the debt. The worst thing though, was that parents and teachers didn’t ask any questions or offer any alternatives.

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