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Friday, September 3, 2010

debt-free U for who?

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$257 a week.  That's only a few lattes, right?  No, your lattes don't cost nearly that much?  Well, neither do mine.  

However, according to Zac Bissonette, the young author of Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off my Parents, claims that a student can go to a state college, pay $13,000 a year out of pocket, and complete a college education without going into debt.  Apparently, he did it.  This does sound like a great idea, but I don't think it is entirely feasible for most families.

First off, a mere $257 each week adds up to $1028 per month.  Who has that just laying around? While I like the idea of sending a child to college without having to also send him into debt, we don't have an extra $1028 laying around each month.  Do you?  Even in ten years, when my son is college age, I doubt we'll have that much extra money to pay for college out of pocket.  And, to do that for four years, then turn around and do it again when my daughter reaches 18?  No, I don't think so.  Especially not considering we'll be paying off my husband's college loans for some time.  For us, $1028 is equal to the cost of two car payments and an incredibly plush grocery bill each month. 

Furthermore, a quick internet search shows me that the total cost of tuition (which doesn't include books or a comprehensive meal plan) for a student at Virginia Tech, the state college closes to me, is $15,748, $2,748 more than Bisonnette quoted during his interview this morning.  So, that actually works out to $302.86 per week, or $1211.44 each month.  Now, we're looking at our car payments, our typical grocery bill, satellite tv, internet, telephone, and maybe even gas.  That's right, most of our monthly expenses, sans mortgage.  

Besides that, I still think that having your parents pay for college out of pocket is definitely considered "mooching."  Now, I will readily admit that I have not read the book, but I don't think any student is going to be able to go to college and work, bringing in over $1200 each month.  At least, not legally.  A prostitute might be able to do it, but she'd have to be awfully talented. note: I am not advocating prostitution as a career.  maybe, though, as a hobby. 

Therefore, this guy's idea seems to be completely unreasonable in today's economy for all except the very well-to-do.  And, if you're that well off, why couldn't you pay for it up front anyway?  Do you really need a manual?

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