Anthony ONeal is a best-selling author (The Graduate Survival Guide: 5 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make in College) and speaker helping students make smart decisions about money. But it wasn’t too long ago he himself racked up $25,000 in debt during college due to overspending – a new stereo system for his car, gifts for girls and other unnecessary purchases.

Anthony’s wants you to take student loans completely off the table. For graduates who have already taken out student loans, he wants you to make a solid action plan to get out of debt.

Anthony’s latest book is Debt-Free Degree, which you can have a chance to win – check out the details below. The book outlines how to graduate from college without student loans. He includes a checklist for parents and students, starting in middle school. Here is his advice:

For Future and Current College Students and Parents

“I know college is crazy expensive and that can be overwhelming. Student loans might seem like the easy way now, but they will make your life hard later,” Anthony says.

Anthony is a firm believer that it is possible, with hard work, to pay for college without student loans. 

“If you’re in high school, apply for scholarships like it’s your full-time job,” he says. Scholarship money is free money you’re leaving on the table, he adds. 

Anthony also says it’s important to choose a college you can afford rather than your dream school. He advises to work to pay for anything that scholarships, grants and savings doesn’t cover.

For parents, Anthony says if you’re in the position to do so, save for college. “Now, if you’re starting early, you’re debt-free, and you’re investing 15% of your income into retirement, consider opening a 529 or an ESA to help with the cost of college,” Anthony says. “But if you’re starting later in the game, remember this isn’t all on you.”

He says your kids can work, too. He points out that studies show that students who work up to 12 hours a week achieve better grades. “They’re more invested when they have skin in the game,” he says.

The smartest thing you can do while you’re in college? Create a budget, Anthony says.

“A budget is simply telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. Work hard, live below your means and you’ll be way ahead of your peers after you graduate,” he says.

For College Students and Graduates with Student Loan Debt

“Listen, if you’re in college and you already have debt, I’m not judging you. I made the same mistake,” Anthony says.

What’s his advice? Get intentional with your money and make a plan to reduce your debt.

Pick up a second, part-time job. Drive for Uber where you can set your own hours. If you’re still in college, look into work-study programs, and use that additional income to pay toward your college costs.


Win Anthony’s new book Debt-Free Degree!

There are four ways to win Anthony’s awesome new book, Debt-Free Degree. Here’s how:  

1. Sign up for our free student loan newsletter.

2. Like our Facebook Page and comment on the official book giveaway post that will post February 10th.

3. Follow us on Twitter and comment on the official book giveaway post that will post February 10th.

4. Follow us on Instagram and comment on the official book giveaway post that will post February 10th.