Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop
Just because you have “finished” college doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider going back. I know… I know… I’m still paying back my undergrad and grad school student loans. Remember, there are many ways to pay for school besides going into debt (Scholarships, Family, Grants, 529 Plans, and crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe®).
However, an often overlooked tuition assistance source is employers.
Work Hard, Learn More
That’s right! Your job may extend scholarships to you and your dependent children. You may also get a salary boost or stipend for earning your degree as an employee. Talk to your HR office about existing educational benefits for yourself and perhaps your dependents. With the rising cost of tuition, a dollar saved is a dollar earned; because tuition won’t cost you pennies. That’s for sure.
Colleges and universities also offer great staff/administrator educational benefits. I am fortunate to work in higher education, so my employer pays the costs of two classes each fall/spring/summer sessions regardless of credit hour and final grade earned. However, I am mindful that my boss reviews my midterm and final grades to justify spending on my educational endeavors.
Employers Need Skilled Workers
Did you know your state may offer tuition exemptions/waivers for certain occupations? For example, the state of Texas will cover the cost of tuition for Police Officers enrolled in Law Enforcement or Criminal Justice classes. Firefighters receive the same benefit as employees or active members of volunteer fire departments to take Fire Science courses.
Right now, I am completing accounting courses in route to a certification to further improve my financial literacy. I am blessed with the opportunity to share my student loan debt story with students daily. The Lord has placed other things on my heart to take this mission further. It’s rough at times but as Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers says, “Trust the Process”.
Life’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Here’s an update on my student loan progress below. Until next time everyone! Stay strong, fight on, and have no debt but love.
Dear Parents, Friends, and Loved Ones,
Please pass this along to the college students in your life. Spring break is upon us, and they are being tempted to jump on planes and make it rain with tuition refunds.
Remind Them They Are Students:
Don’t ignore your college work over Spring Break. Use the week to relax from the regular grind, but stay in the habit of studying for school.
I think a lot of us dream of spending Spring Break on a beach with friends. Whatever your plans, use the time to continue being a student.
Encourage to Think Beyond Spring Break:
When I was a student, I found keeping this balance let me enjoy my break while also helping me stay caught up with the schoolwork to come. I was also less stressed when the break was over.
I’m not suggesting you lock yourself in your room and do nothing but school work. That will lead to burnout. Remember, balance is the key. Use the week to relax, but also keep up the routine of having study time:
• Continue doing classwork each day on your regular schedule.
• Schedule time to have fun and catch up with friends.
Prepare for The Next Academic Year & Career:
Besides the no-brainers of exercising and eating healthy, here are a few other things to do during Spring Break. The suggestions below will take time, so extend yourself some grace. For help, visit your college’s Career Services office when it reopens.
• Start working on a generic cover letter.
• Find a summer internship or job.
• Apply for scholarships.
Assess Your Finances:
If you can’t afford to jet set with classmates, just don’t go. Just imagine yourself in your career after graduation taking paid vacations from work. You will soon be a working professional who can afford multiple international trips a year-if you practice good money habits today.
Remind Them of Possible Financial Ruin:
For the last 7 years and 9 glorious months, I’ve been paying back student loans. Do you really want this in your future? Do yourself a favor, sacrifice what you want now for a future that’s a little more comfortable. Below is my balance update. Until next time everyone! Stay strong, fight on, and let’s help the youth have no debt but love.
Howdy and thank you for stopping by! Your visit to No Debt But Love isn’t taken for granted. Your presence here greatly encourages and motivates me.
Now Let’s Roll…
Grrrr… I hate giving the federal government an interest free loan. This is what happens when you get an income tax return, you essentially paid too much in taxes. Getting a return is better than the alternative, owing the federal government. Just thinking about these three letters makes me break out in a cold sweat! They are the IRS.
Pay What You Owe
The Internal Revenue Service possesses a very particular set of skills. Skills that make it a nightmare for your bank account. If you are some poor soul who owes years of back taxes without legal representation, the IRS will find you and garnish your wages.
I am grateful to have not owed the government a dime. Thanks to deducting $2,500 paid in student loan interest this past year. I also received a tax credit for the cost of childcare for my children. These tax provisions help immensely, but NOT enough to take out more student debt or have more children.
Am I Done Yet?
Paying off student loans has been frustrating and I grow evermore anxious as my balance gets closer to ZERO. I am instructed to not be anxious about anything, as found in Philippians 4:6-7. It’s weird that I am now grateful to have had the student loan debt in my life.
I have learned to count the cost of things I want; as in hours on my job it will take to pay for something. In this case of student loans- the years exchanged for pieces of paper. I am determined and have plans to not allow history to repeat itself through my children.
Making It Rain
As soon as our tax return hit the bank, my wife agreed to put some it towards my student loan debt. Below is an update of my loan balances. I am blessed to watch my debt shrink each month. I am grateful and can’t stop thanking the Lord for it.
Until next time everyone! Stay strong, fight on, and have no debt but love.
We have all read the nightmare stories of student loans wreaking havoc on the personal finances of the young and old. Here’s another thing student loans may cause… HAIR LOSS! DUN-DUN-DUUUUN!!! Haha. Life isn’t meant to be lived seriously all the time, so I decided to post about my male patterned baldness haha.
Going bald is a pain for me, as I have placed a bit of my identity in the strength of my hairline. Yeah… kind of silly. This past November, I stressed tremendously about my son starting daycare with his sister. I was on paternity leave at the time and the stress wasn’t about missing my son per se… it was the pressure to provide for two kids in daycare lol.
Yet the Lord provided and continues to provide. My nights became sleepless as I wondered how we would make it with my student loans, regular monthly expenses, and now daycare for 2. I was prepared to reduce my student loan payment to make things work. I grew frustrated thinking about all the progress made in reducing the debt to only watch it creep back up.
The elders in my family with wrinkly, low-hanging, bubbled lips would say, “Boy, the Lord is never surprised”. To which I would immediately exhale audibly and roll my eyes.
Soon everything became too much, I broke down and decided to challenge the Lord with Psalm 127:3-5 (NIV), “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them”.
I didn’t feel blessed at the time. After I decided to relinquish control as Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight”.
My family follows a strict budget and my wife isn’t too thrilled about it. However, there is more than enough every month. The provision doesn’t make any sense, as we should be in the negative. We may not have always have we want, but we always have what we need.
My hair even grew back, check out the waves HAHA. Hair is a trivial matter in the grand outlook of life, my razor is ready to “Come On Home” and join the pantheon of bald greats-Dwayne Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Vin Diesel
Below is an update on my student loan balance. I have no choice but to give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. -Psalm 136:1
Hi Everyone and welcome back to No Debt But Love! I have made the video entitled “Most Affordable 4-Year Colleges in Texas Under 20k Per Year For 2019” available on YouTube. Click on the play button of the video down below.
Have any of you attended one the featured schools? What was your experience like? What was your major? Did you graduate with any student loan debt? I love to hear from you in the comments section of the video.
Thank you for your support!
Hi everyone! Thank you for the continued support along my debt repayment journey. Below is my student loan balance update.
I have now paid off 68% of my student loans. With my student loans now at $26,646.87, I struggle with a lot of what ifs. What if I attended a cheaper school? What if I didn’t have student loans? What if the $58,661.20 paid toward my debt’s principal was money added into retirement accounts?
I snap out of the “Woe is me” and remember…
1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NIV) reads, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs”.
This scripture is not saying we should have nothing else beyond food and clothing. Nor is this scripture condemning ambition and the desire to earn wealth. This passage warns us against greed and the misuse of wealth.
Money should not be our final goal. We should aspire to know the Lord more; because he gives us the ability to enjoy what He blessed us with. Have you ever logged into your social media account and became envious of a friend’s latest vacation, celebratory post of a purchased house, or new job/promotion?
Comparing ourselves to others and living with regret is dangerous. There are times we will make lane changes and reverse to parallel park. However, staying fixated on other cars and not the road ahead of us will cause crashes-resulting in property loss or death.
Regardless of what our peers earn annually and possessions they enjoy, we must remember “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men”-Colossians 3:23 (NIV).
I will soon release a video entitled, “Most Affordable Texas Colleges-Legit Schools Costing Under 20k Per Year”. The video will be available through the No Debt But Love YouTube channel. Please subscribe to the channel, like, and share the videos; your support is much appreciated.
My son just made 2 months recently and I am excited to watch him learn how to express himself. My boy is one happy baby as evidenced by the dimpled smiles, the coos, and flailing arms and legs. My 2-year old is very protective of her brother. Each morning she runs into our bedroom shouting, “I want to hold little man!” or “That’s my baby!”; and is ready to plant kisses all over her brother’s face.
With that said, my wife and I are pleased to announce our family is adjusting well to the new baby. There is so much to be thankful for with Christmas around the corner and recently celebrating Thanksgiving.
First off, I am thankful to have a job that offers paternity leave. My job allows 6 weeks of paid time off to tend to births/adoptions. HOORAY! Also, I have 6 weeks of vacation time that can be applied in addition to paternity leave. It would be a challenge to stay home with a baby for that long lol. Cabin fever will ensue.
However, I am using 2 weeks of vacation to be at home with our new little guy for a total of 8 weeks.
Second, I am grateful for my son’s health. My wife was exhausted after the long (4 hour) delivery, but our son has since grown to a 12-pound baby champ. No amount of money can ever buy good health, even with the best doctors and medicine available. Poor health touches the rich and poor alike.
Third, I am grateful for my wife’s recovery. She is back exercising and is already contemplating a third child lol. I humbly ask she pumps the brakes. Thank you for accepting the challenge of being married to me babe. “I am honored to have the opportunity for you and me to exclusively form a little community of chocolate babies with proper raising.” -Tobe Nwigwe, “Wavy” I can’t take credit for those words. HAHA!
Okay, enough of that. Back to the reason for this blog, the tracking of my student loan repayment progress. Which leaves me with the fourth and final thing I am grateful for. As 2018 comes to a close, I have paid off $11,279.58 in principal. Check out the loan balance updates below.
I will give myself a Christmas present in the form of a student loan payment. The payment amount will be $400. It sucks to think about student loans over the holidays, but this will be $400 closer to debt freedom. The goal to live out Romans 13:8 doesn’t take holiday breaks. Until next time folks, have no debt but love!
I started my career in academia as a community college Admissions Specialist and later, Academic Advisor. I remember the numbers of students and their families huddled like cattle in lobbies, waiting to discuss class registration.
Once inside my office, scowl-wearing parents with arms crossed, stood directly behind students plopped in chairs with faces buried in their hands.
Too often, community colleges are students’ backup plan for the following reasons:
- Not getting into college of choice
- Unable to afford college of choice.
- Failed out of college of choice.
- Not knowing what to do in life.
Universities offer their share of many advantages, the purpose of the blog entry is to help cash-strapped students/families to make informed decisions, and avoid big student loan debt as I incurred.
The Case for Community Colleges
- The community college offers a smaller class setting. I remember my first class in a university lecture hall of 150 students, it was intimidating.
- The largest class size at my place of employment, a community college, is maxed at 47.
- Although many universities may boast this same benefit, these institutions will cost students more.
With smaller class sizes, teachers are able to respond to the needs of students faster. Universities rely heavily on TAs (teacher’s assistant), who are highly competent, but are students themselves with their own academic stresses.
- In the wise words of Warren Buffett, “Price is what you pay, value is what you get”. Lately, people in high student loan debt don’t view the price paid for education as highly valuable.
- As of 2018-2019, a local community college in my area of residence costs $59 per credit hour. Therefore, a 3 and 4 credit hour course will cost $177 and $236 respectively.
- A university in my state will cost you $1,338 per credit hour this academic year; making 3 and 4 credit hour courses cost $4,014 and $5,352 respectively.
Oh yeah… this doesn’t include prices for books, food, lodging, and transportation. God bless you if you are able to meet this educational request without debt. This is blog is for those who may find this request challenging. Haha!
- Universities don’t grow legs and walk away. They will still be there once you complete your desired school’s “Basics”.
- Basics are classes required for all students regardless of major (English, History, Political Science, Mathematics, Natural and Social Sciences courses). If your student is unsure about their career, basics are a great place to start versus changing majors frequently.
- Academic advisors have transfer guides needed to transfer work towards your university degree.
Furthermore, bachelor’s degrees are usually 120 credit hours and take 4 years to complete. Community colleges have articulation agreements which allow students to complete 45-60 credit hours, which is equal to the first 2 years of a bachelor’s degree. Therefore, community colleges allow students to complete half of their university requirements at a fraction of the cost.
- Scholarships abound for students transferring from community colleges to universities.
- Hidden gems on community college campuses are the honor societies such as “The National Society of Collegiate Scholars” and “Phi Theta Kappa”.
- For more information and eligibility criteria:
Feel free to visit the “Scholarship Resources” tab of this blog to view other great college funding opportunities. The first link features resources for my home state, “The Lone Star State”-Texas. Other resources are links to legitimate scholarship search engines and honor societies.
Below is my student loans update. I am blessed to see the light getting brighter and closer at the end of tunnel. Thank you Jesus Christ for always providing for me in seasons of employment and unemployment, and I am confident you will continue to do so.