4 Tips to Graduate From College Debt-Free with David Wilson

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#65 – Paying off student loans, whether it’s your own or your kids’, is a challenge faced by many Americans.

If you’re one of these people, then this episode is for you!

Today, we’ll teach you ways to graduate from college debt-free so that you’re not burdened with paying off student loans for the rest of your life.

Join Jeremy Keil as he interviews David Wilson, the benefits program manager at Lockton Companies and an expert in personal finance. David shares his inspiring story of how he managed to graduate from the Wisconsin Lutheran College in 2020 with zero student debt!

David discusses:

  • Why choosing the right college is the first step to tackling student debt
  • How to find scholarships to support you financially in your college education
  • How you can earn more than the minimum wage through creative job opportunities
  • The importance of learning personal finance as early as possible
  • And more

4 Tips to Graduate From College Debt-free

1) Choose the Right College

Before you begin your college planning, ask yourself, “Is college for me?”

As you’ll likely be spending thousands of dollars on your college education, it’s important to ensure it will be helpful in your career down the road.

In fact, an even better question to ask is, “Is college right now for me?”

Oftentimes, it’s good to take a year off to decide what you want to pursue in life. Not only does this provide a clarity of vision, but it also gives you time to build a decent amount of savings for your education.

It’s extremely important to choose your college wisely. Compare the various costs involved with the benefits of attending, and see if it’s worth it (or if you can afford it in the first place).

Many students get carried away by attractive flyers and lavish college parties, and end up choosing the wrong college. Don’t be one of them!

To learn more about choosing the right college, check out our blog: How To Help Your Kids Choose the Right College.

2) Apply for as Many Scholarships as You Can

College can be expensive, especially if it’s a private one.

However, these colleges want you to apply and be a part of their community so they will do their best to help eliminate the financial barrier.

The most common way they do that is through scholarships. If you have a high GPA or ACT score, you could be eligible for various merit scholarships.

Depending on the college, there could potentially be multiple different types of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid for students. Apply for as many as you can!

3) Be Creative With Your Side Hustles

Working part-time or during summer breaks is a great way to fund your college education.

Now, we know what you’re thinking, “How can I pay off my entire tuition by working at minimum wage?”

Well, it is possible to earn considerably more than the minimum wage if you’re creative enough with your side hustles.

For example, here are some of the ways that David Wilson increased his income to graduate debt-free:

  • He worked as a resident advisor (RA), which eliminated his room & board expenses and saved him nearly $13,000 per year ($26,000 in total)!
  • He utilized his savings to buy and sell lawnmowers
  • During his internship with a local cell phone company, he convinced his employers to allow him to sell their used inventory online. This resulted in additional income.

4) Don’t Underestimate the Power of Personal Finance

David Wilson’s pursuit for debt-free college education was inspired by a Dave Ramsey education course during his highschool, which introduced him to personal finance.

This knowledge not only helped him pay off his student debt, but also empowered him to begin his retirement contributions at an early age. David graduated with a fully-funded Roth IRA in 2019 & 2020!

This personal finance knowledge will continue to guide you even after your graduation. You can make smarter financial decisions throughout your life.

If you wish to have David speak at your school, church, or other organization, David is offering (FOR FREE) to give his talk on “how to get a debt-free degree” or “behind the scenes of the documentary.” The talk can be geared towards high school students, or even college students and parents. Contact David using the information provided below!


There are plenty of resources below to help you take a stronger control of your finances. Make sure you check them out!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or connect with our guest David Wilson through the information provided below!


Connect With David Wilson:

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About Our Guest:

David Wilson is a personal finance enthusiast who loves sharing his knowledge with others, especially those who are in college or recent graduates. David was featured in the Ramsey Solutions documentary on the student loan crisis, Borrowed Future, for making it through school debt-free. Since then, he has become a Ramsey Certified Financial Coach and gives back by sharing his knowledge on social media to help others take on college and life without any debt. In addition to sharing his knowledge, David also shares the stories of other students who are going through/have gone through college debt-free on the YOUR Debt-Free Degree Podcast.


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