Zac Bissonnette Explains How To Get Through College Debt-Free

Whether you’re a first year student or heading back to campus for yet another year of academics and parties, there is indisputably one book you need to bring along with you: Debt-Free U: How I Paid for An Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching Off My Parents, by Zac Bissonnette.

I know what you’re thinking: Why would I want to read a book about paying for college when I’m already in college and I’m getting by with student loans/ my parents’ generously footing the bill /or a scholarship?

Well listen up, pretty lady – whatever your situation is you will absolutely get some insight about paying for college that will, without a doubt, help you make better decisions when it comes to financially making it through four years, as well as helping you protect your future post-grad life.

Throughout history, paying for college has been a major issue on everyone’s minds. But although it’s something everyone always seems to talk (and worry) about, it is one thing that usually gets pushed to the side in the application process. Students send their applications out, they get their acceptance letters back, and then – and only then – the question of paying for that highly accredited university to which they’ve been accepted pops up. But with the cost of a college education rising at a pace in polar opposition to our economy, financial disaster is almost inevitable.

Without a lot of financial planning, people turn to student loans, which, as any college student who has taken them out knows, are a major stress-factor that can impact the rest of your life. Not only do students feel like they have to take out more and more loans to supplement an income during college, they feel utterly lost, especially in a world where financial aid offices will tell you anything. In Debt-Free, Zac explains “The role of the financial aid office to make sure that the students the school has admitted are financially able to attend – through whatever means necessary.” Because colleges don’t work as financial advocates for students, more and more students are falling down the rabbit hole of student debt. However, consider Debt-Free as a personal guide that will walk you through all things financial in the college world, by whatever means necessary.

What makes Debt-Free so rich is that in a world where colleges and universities will blatantly lie to prospective and current students about financial options, Zac is here to dispel every rumor, every faulty piece of advice, and to actually help you out. While many financial books promise to get their readers on the right track to becoming millionaires, Debt-Free looks out for its audience by giving the cold, hard facts and a dose of reality with a bit of humor and a lot of helpful tips peppered in.

Especially in this recession, it’s hard for students not to become emotional or enraged about their college financial situations. While some students feel incredibly strongly about student loans (how else would they have gone to college without them?) and others are more indifferent, a growing number of students interested in having more financial autonomy, especially in college, is growing. Regardless of your opinion on student loans or the means to paying for a college education, Zac’s advice will cover everything you need to know to make good decisions with your money (or lack thereof).

Debt-Free covers everything and anything related to paying for college. From the beginning of the application process and how colleges reel students in with promises of scholarship money and financial aid, all the way through the hidden facts regarding student loans. Not only does he offer advice on how to pay for college without making your parents go bankrupt or ruining your financial future with monthly loan payments, Zac offers clarity about whether paying for a private college instead of big public university is worth it. He even addresses the financial situation as a whole – and offers his personal take on how they should improve and what needs to change. Instead of complaining about financial aid issues such as FASFA, Zac is outspoken about the system and how it can be more effective and fair.

All in all, what makes this book refreshing is that Zac practices what he preaches. He’s not some spoiled rich kid with parents paying his way at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst while spouting fake advice. He’s putting his money where his mouth is, and he’s advocating for students across the nation.

And considering the hundreds of thousands of dollars we’re spending on our college educations, it might be a good idea to listen.

[Debt-Free U: How I Paid For An Outstanding College Educaiton Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching Off My Parents hits bookstores on August 31st. A special thanks to Maureen Cole at Portfolio/Penguin Publishing for providing a press copy.]



  1. […] with 4 other roommates, varying costs, and payment deadlines, college has provided me with a free lesson on finances, credit, fiscal responsibility and budgeting (for clothes and […]

  2. courtney says:

    this guy's face is annoying as hell. like a less hot version of ryan reynolds. or maybe i'm just jealous he's published and not in debt?

  3. kentpaul65102 says:

    Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching Off My Parents. I consider the first and the last one trouble. What does he have against scholarships? its free money for your hard work, since when was free a bad thing?

    1. napoleon smith says:

      what do mean trouble loans and off parents.

    2. anynamous says:

      he probably didn't work hard enough to get a scholarship. :P

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  5. will says:

    I don't think he's meaning that scholarships are bad, it's just how HE got through college without "Loans, Scholarships, or mooching off his parents"

  6. Alice Jones says:

    True story:

    Many moons ago, I went to community college while working full time and saving money, then transferred to Big-State-U for my last two years. After earning my BA, I decided to go to a regional university for my masters with an assistantship and tuition waiver; and then went to another Big-State-U for a PhD (also with an assistantship and tuition waiver).

    Bottom line? I spent the better part of 13 very happy years in college, blissfully following my dreams– and I did it debt free and without mooching off of anyone.

    I am now a full professor and I encourage my students to buy Old Edition textbooks, check 'em out at the library, or use on-line resources to learn the material we cover.

    Oh yeah, and I'm as well respected in my academic discipline as both a researcher and instructor as my colleagues that went to Snobnose Private U on daddy's or SallieMae's dime.

  7. […] You’d probably go shopping more than once a month.  Maybe bankroll your friends at the bar.  Pay off those student loans.  Get yourself set up in a cushy lifestyle, […]

  8. […] college, there are a lot more expenses that come your way on the post-grad journey. For example: Student loan repayment (can I just tell you that I cried over this for days when I got my first loan repayment bill?), law […]

  9. RE M says:

    I'm reading your book now, and I'm SOOOOOOOOOO glad I did not read it before. My kid applied for and got 9K in scholarships. BUT you are right about that damn FAFSA. Why do we have to do that @#$%? Now that we are looking into the face of the Beast of Next Year's Tuition, I am happy I have some insight into the whole effing process…

  10. donationcan says:

    I'm currently reading this book as I prep for college in August. I have the GI Bill to help but I'm hoping to go to grad school. Great insights in this book.

  11. a7010898 says:

    I’ve said that least 7010898 times. SKC was here…

  12. […] But ideally, parents should teach their kids to save and work hard so that they can get through college without borrowing money, she says. It’s an idea that’s gaining traction in some personal finance arenas. […]

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