Beat the College Debt Trap

By Mary Hunt

April 13, 2016 3 min read

Over the holidays, I was chatting with my sister-in-law, who's a financial advisor for a highly respected financial services organization that's in the top 100 of the Fortune 500. We were talking about the value of a college education compared to the outrageously high cost to go to college these days.

She asked me to recommend a book or resource that she can offer to her clients to help them navigate student loans, personal savings, scholarships and savings programs. She was hoping for an all-in-one book that would be easy to read and understand. Sadly, I couldn't even give her one resource.

But that was last fall, and this is now. I am very excited that there is such a source today: a new book by Alex Chediak, called "Beating the College Debt Trap: Getting a Degree Without Going Broke."

I was hopeful when the publisher asked me to read the manuscript — hopeful that someone would finally nail this difficult topic and offer realistic solutions for ordinary people.

Once I got into the manuscript, I was doing the happy dance. Chediak spares no punches, coming at the subject from his experience as a student and a college professor. He knows his stuff. He dives right into the nitty-gritty of how to pay less for college while getting meaningful work opportunities. He also addresses how to pay off loans quickly (he recommends never taking on more than $10,000 in student debt, which I agree is reasonable). He teaches the reader to spend less, save more and stay out of debt for good. Honestly, reading this book is like hearing myself talking.

Written to both student and parent audiences, this is a resource that answers the most pressing questions I get every day regarding college (about financial aid, student loans, choosing the right school, selecting the right major, etc.). He steers the reader away from the most deadly traps that trip up so many students these days.

If you're worried that college may no longer be worth the cost (as so may parents and students feel these days), let's just put that worry to rest. Yes, it's worth it. A four-year degree has possibly never been more valuable. But going headlong into debilitating debt is not worth it. The solution? Read this book. It is motivating, inspiring and easy to read.

Parents, give it to your kids. Kids, leave a copy on the kitchen table — maybe your parents will pick it up and learn something.

Mary invites questions, comments and tips at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

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