Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off My Parents

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  • a could-be disheartening read for those who truly value college as a paradise for intellectual expansion, and not just a money pit
  • argues that financial concerns should have us all treating Ivy League schools and community colleges on equal footing, at least in economic terms
  • students completely without any possible financial support from parents or family might reap a bit more from this than those with more generous households

Frugality: a vocab word that penny-pinching parents will want to flash-card well before their children’s SATs. There’s truth to the notion of college as an intellectual paradise, where the journey of self-discovery merits the sometimes hefty price tag that accompanies it.┬áBut Zac Bissonnette, who seems to have graduated from Scrooge High, envisions such a notion as a cautionary tale of eventual financial heartache.

Debt-Free U dismisses a preference for brand name schools over consideration for the bottom line. Having written this as a 21 year-old, Bissonnette employs reasoning that comes off as precocious yet ultimately shortsighted.

Tough-love style parents will enjoy Debt-Free U‘s focus on thrusting the bulk of responsibility for college financing on the students themselves, best exemplified in sections like “Does It Really Matter Where You Go to College?” and “How to Make Any College an Ivy League College.” Instead of focusing on the joys of higher education, Bissonnette’s advice hinges on almost frightening students into concentrating on their financial futures and weighing them as ultimately more important than intellectual satisfaction alone.

Debt-Free U expands the college financing conversation into a microcosm of the country’s personal finance debacle. Students who’d prefer the word “debacle” only be brought up on SAT vocab lists, and the parents who love them, should tread carefully here, as this title’s money talk might incite in them a Great Depression of a different sort.