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What It Felt Like To Graduate College Without Debt

Updated: Aug 1, 2020

My husband and I had opposite undergrad experiences, and not just because we attended rival schools (Roll Tide!). Primarily, I’m thinking about our financial situation after we received our degrees. I was fortunate to receive in-state tuition because of my major. Ben paid out of state tuition. I received help from my parents as well as scholarships and my own savings that enabled me to cash flow my expenses for four years on campus and a six-month full-time internship. Ben relied almost exclusively on student loans. I walked across the stage already working in my career field, with no student loans waiting to pounce on my income. Ben wasn’t allowed to walk for his graduation because he still owed the university money. 

Ben and I didn’t meet until three years after my college graduation, and four years after his. In those three years, I lived on my own, worked happily as a board-certified music therapist, and then, when the opportunity arose, left my job to join my friends who had started a non-profit. I was able to do that because my expenses were minimal. They arranged for me to live rent-free with one of their grandmothers. My car I had paid cash for at age 20 was still in good condition. Not having debt meant that I could pursue the opportunities I desired and not worry about my income and needing to repay loans.

The expense of the degree which I received at the University of Alabama has inflated dramatically in the decade since I graduated. I know many parents and students are looking at the bottom line of a chosen institution or degree path and trying to determine if it’s worth it and if it is, how they will pay for it. We can help you make a plan so that they can graduate with their degree without loans following them into their bright future. I can say with certainty that it is a freedom you should fight for fiercely for yourself or your child. 

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