Debtless

Last week, I led a seminar on inte-generational ministry for leaders and pastors. During the breaks, I had a couple of conversations that reminded me of the challenges that college debt poses to young leaders seeking to use their gifts to make a difference in the world! I am passionate about helping young people remain debt free through college, which is why I am so excited about Josiah Kennealy's book, Debtless. This week, in celebration of the book's one-year anniversary, you can get it for just $5 on Amazon (or free for Kindle).
This is a perfect graduation gift for the high school graduates in your life!
Below, Josiah shares a few tips covered in the book. Enjoy!
For the next generation, Jolene Erlacher

 

Over the past five years, I have met with many college students, young couples and young adults who are drowning in debt and struggling financially because of student loans. I recently completed my master’s degree — graduating debt-free — and focused my capstone project on this topic. My colleagues and I surveyed 850 college students from more than 200 different colleges and universities in over 40 states. We published the findings in the book Debtless.
 
I want to share with you three tips that will help you pay for college, take on less debt, and pursue your dreams with passion!
 
1. Investigate!
 
College is expensive. Every situation is different because each student has a different desire of what his or her future dreams hold. In addition, every family has a different financial situation based on jobs, income level, and life events.
 
Research and due diligence is your job. I recommend that students in high school visit their school’s office to set up a meeting with their school counselor. One you’ve done that, you want to talk to the admissions offices of every school you’re applying for. This can help you figure out things like FAFSA, which is a form family’s fill out to apply for financial aid in the form of grants and government helps.  
 
Similar to researching the costs of different college and university options and learning what forms of financial aid are available is applying for outside scholarships. What scholarships do you qualify for? There are a few free websites I recommend: fastweb is one of the best. (You shouldn’t have to pay for any of them).
 
Lastly, could you work while you’re in school? I worked at least 25 hours per week throughout college during the school year and more over summer break. This allowed me to pay as I went for school.
 
What are some ways you could increase the amount of money you have?
 
2. Ideate!
 
This is coming up with your own game plan and road map to success. Again, every student’s experience is going to be different and every family of origin is different to begin with. If you find yourself particularly overwhelmed or stressed out, just know you can do it!
 
For some people, it makes sense to earn college credit while they are in high school still through AP courses, PSEO, IB and other college in the school programs.
 
Another opportunity to think about is spending your first year or two at a community college and later transferring to a four—year public or private university. This is a way you can cut the cost overall, and generally community college students can live at home in addition to work. This can be a tri-fecta! Lower cost to classes, live at home rent free, and work to pay bills and save towards the future.
 
What are some ways you could cut the cost?
 
3. Collaborate!
 
If you are a first generation college student, (and 25% of students are in 2018) one of the things I would say to you is you can do it and you’re not alone. Mentors, youth pastors, parents, teachers, and counselors are people you can let in on the process. Work together! Maybe this process begins for you by calling a cousin or friend who’s a current college student and asking them about their experience.
 
Chris Brown (financial expert and nationally syndicated radio show host) recently said that 80% of parents expect their child to graduate with student loans. I’m here to tell you that graduating debt free is completely possible and now that you’re on this journey, graduating with less debt is extremely likely!
 
I wrote the book Debtless for you and our team created a 12-week YouTube video series with more tips on how to pay for college as well! You can add me to your team of people cheering you on, believing that you can do it and passing along helpful information in the process.
 
When you are willing to sacrifice to minimize the total cost and expense, work to raise your income, and involve other people in the process you are on the path to success!

To read the full article by Josiah Kennealy with additional tips, visit the Leading Tomorrow blog!