Debt-Free College: 79 Secrets for Successful College Financing

Getting 79 “secrets” to help you with your college financing for as little as a penny might be called a best buy. Agreed? Well, that’s what you can get from some Amazon sellers with Sparks’ and Vaddi’s book. It offers universal, timeless wisdom about a crucial aspect of the college process: finances.

The authors represent an eclectic pair of careers. Sparks is a network administrator for M3 Design, Inc. and Vaddi has a degree in finance and holds a senior position at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP. Both graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.

The publisher’s blurb proclaims, “This [320-page] guide cuts through the confusion of college financing and offers a clear set of techniques for making higher education attainable and affordable.” Although some numbers and policies have changed over the past years, there’s still a lot of wisdom to be had inside these pages, including:

  • Advice for young people, older and returning students, parents, part-timers, and anyone who needs help with paying for college.
  • Tips on developing “financial intelligence” before, during, and after college.
  • Hints on everything from avoiding scholarship scams to saving on phone bills and textbooks.
  • Resources, information on sources of aid, and more.

The book is laid out in four main sections:

Part I: The Basics of Beating College Debt

This orientation section includes chapters covering financial attitudes, charting a financial plan, the college money game, and how to avoid “the waiting place.”

Part II: Making College Affordable

These chapters cover reducing college costs, 12 “quick-hit strategies,” and success in two years.

Part III: Understanding and Using Financial Aid

Learn about the financial aid process, Federal, state, and private aid, and scholarships.

Part IV: Staying Ahead

Here, the authors present 18 additional strategies, educate us about compound interest, and “moving past the finish line.” Following these parts are a helpful glossary, a list of helpful resources, a bibliography, and an index. As one reviewer commented on Debt-Free College:

“I found the book interesting and well laid out. It explains the whole college financing process and gives you specific tips on how to make it work for you. It also valuable advice on managing personal finance going forward . . . it has all college necessities that can make this work. I highly recommend it for anyone going to college, wanting to start college or even just in high school . . .”

In summary, then, I suppose one could ask Sparks and Vaddi, “A penny for your thoughts on financing a college education.” Thanks to Amazon, you can close that deal.