Students attend King's debt-free


NEW YORK--TeensGotCents blog recently featured Mary Losiak (’16) for attending college with the goal of graduating debt-free. Losiak’s friend Eva Baker interviewed her about the value and sacrifices behind an education without loans. Approximately 61 percent of The King’s College student body uses Stafford loans, while 9 percent of students borrow through a private program, according to Director of Financial Aid Anna Peters.

Sixty percent of the nation’s 12 million college students borrow annually, according to the American Student Assistance (ASA). For the first quarter of 2012, the average student loan balance was $24,301.

TeensGotCents, which advises young people in financial decisions, was launched on Jan. 1 of this year and has already hosted 4700 visitors. Blogger Eva Baker believes that Losiak’s piece will “be an inspiration to other teenagers who are trying to make wise financial decisions concerning where they attend college,” she said in a Feb. 15 press release email.

With the return of the Founder’s scholarship this past year, four freshman students won up to the full amount of full tuition in scholarships. Other students at King’s are on track to graduate debt-free as well.

“Before going to school, being debt-free was already a priority,” Rebecca Au (’15) said. Au spent a semester with a full-ride to a local school and then spent her second semester of freshman year taking King’s Online courses. Now, she lives with her family and commutes to school. Although her parents assist her with tuition, she pays transportation and living expenses.

“I know it’s not for everyone. My parents had already saved a lot of money,” Au said.

Tristan Kelley (’14) is also debt-free. “I am lucky enough because my parents set up a college trust when I was younger. This far I haven’t taken out a single loan through [three] years of college, though there’s a good chance I won’t make it [until graduation],” Kelley said.

Jeremiah Gill (’15) will possibly graduate debt-free due to grants, an outside scholarship, working diligently over summers and a generous gift from his grandparents.

“Thinking about what you will do post-college, trying to secure a job, and facing your future are reason to worry enough. Adding debt to that basket would amplify the problems,” Gill said via email.

Most students who are on track to graduate debt-free make significant sacrifices. “Working during the year makes everything else I do harder, as time management becomes so much more vital,” Gill said.

"I sacrifice my weekends, and my ability to intern, for a paying retail job," Losiak said in her article.

Au has sacrificed internships and extra-curricular activities in order to work and commute. She sees the sacrifices as necessary. “College is an investment of time, and I’m willing to make sacrifices now to get out of debt than to be at such disadvantages when I’m out of school. I’m trying to learn to be an adult,” she said.

Read Losiak's article.