1. Nicole says

    FASFSA is important to fill out if students are planning to work on campus too. This is different than it was in my day. No matter what the income all students should fill one out!

  2. Jennifer says

    All 3 of our kids took AP classes and were able to graduate a little early. Ds#1 had several AP classes and went to community college and was able to transfer to a highly rated state school. He did Door Dash and uber eats on weekends and it was very lucrative for him.

    Unfortunately, dh had a stroke right before he started so FAFSA really kicked in at a time we needed it most. I realize this is a rare thing, but no matter your situation, fill it out. You never know. Fortunately, both of the younger ones graduated with less than 15K in student loans and I personally consider that a huge win.

    • Stephanie says

      Thanks for sharing Jennifer! AP classes are a great way to get some college credits while still in high school. That’s great that all of your kids took advantage of that. Good advice on filling out the FAFSA! That can be a big help. I’m glad it helped you guys out! Way to go– $15K in student loans is less than half of the average students have these days!

      • Nicole says

        FASFSA is important to fill out if students are planning to work on campus too. This is different than it was in my day. No matter what the income all students should fill one out!

  3. MB @ Millennial Boss says

    Kudos to you and your husband! I didn’t have the maturity to choose a school for the cost at 18. I was going to the best school I could possibly get into. I had a friend who turned down an Ivy league school for a cheaper school and I never understood that at 18. Totally “get it” now!

  4. Jen @ Frugal Millennial says

    Great tips! I only know one millennial who graduated from college 100% debt-free (aside from some people who have wealthy parents who paid for the entire cost). She started at a community college and was able to take all of her classes there for free because her dad is a professor at the college. (He gets a certain number of free credits every semester that he or his family members can use). She completed her two year degree in HR. She then worked full-time as an HR Assistant for a while and saved enough money to pay for her bachelor’s degree.

    I would highly recommend this strategy to most millennials (unless they’re in a field that requires a 4 year degree or an advanced degree). Many entry-level jobs don’t pay well, and if you’ve only had to pay for a two year degree (instead of a four year degree), you’ll have less debt. You can then work for a while, save money, and go back for your bachelor’s later. Once you finish your bachelor’s, you’ll already have some work experience, which will help you land a better job.

  5. PayingMyLawSchoolDebt says

    It’s funny – I didn’t have debt from my undergraduate degree either. I was extremely frugal, worked during summers and the school year, didn’t own a car. But my parents had always told me it’s smart to go to the best possible school you can get into for your “terminal degree,” regardless of student loans. I took that advice for law school and the rest is history, unfortunately. If only I could turn back the hands of time…

  6. Lisa says

    Yes– my husband and I did these things as well, and, like you, both earned our undergraduate degrees with no student loan debt!

    Pell grants were helpful as well — it’s important to fill out the FAFSA early in the year if you think you might qualify for financial aid.

    I definitely advocate living frugally and working both during the school year and especially during the summer, too. I even think it is prudent in many cases to consider taking a semester off if you cannot afford tuition. It sure beats acquiring the staggering debt many of my classmates took on!

    • Stephanie says

      That’s a great suggestion that I didn’t mention. My husband took a semester off to go home and work during his third year I believe. There’s nothing wrong with slowing down a little to prevent debt. And yes–Pell grants are great too!

  7. Jenni@DitchingOurDebt says

    Although we have debt from graduate school, I know that choosing a school with a much lower tuition allowed us to not incur as much debt as we would have at a private school. It also helped to attend a school that was located in a low-cost-of-living area to begin with.

    One thing we’ve seen some people do is to encourage their kids to take high school classes that count for college credit. In some states, like Washington, I believe that you can even attend a community college for free in high school and receive college credit if you are in 11th or 12th grade (


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