Swedroe: How To Manage Student Debt 101

Here’s a book to help parents and students navigate college financing.

Reviewed by: Larry Swedroe
Edited by: Larry Swedroe

While I consider many financial reporters investment pornographers, John Wasik is one of the good guys. In addition to his columns, Wasik has written 17 books.

His recent e-book, “The Debt-Free Degree: How to Eliminate College Debt at Every Step,” is a must-read if you have kids who will attend college (they may even be filling out applications now), have kids in college or have student debt.

Wasik’s book can serve as a great introduction in that it covers a lot of bases for borrowers who aren’t familiar with their student loan options, as well as all the financial issues related to choosing a college.

It tells readers how to best manage student loans, as well as what pitfalls to avoid. It’s a handy, easy-to-understand and comprehensive resource.

This would make a great book for parents to share with their high school and college-age children so that they have the necessary information to make smart financial decisions regarding higher education.

Laundry List Of Advice

  • The book offers advice regarding, and covers in detail, such topics as:
  • Best savings vehicles to use
  • Picking the right college to avoid debt
  • Getting the best return on your college “investment”
  • How to avoid problems with for-profit colleges
  • Filling out the FAFSA form
  • Getting the best deal from public and private colleges
  • In-state versus out-of-state school
  • Planning for aid and the questions to ask
  • Choosing the best loan programs
  • The dos and don’ts of managing loans
  • How to deal with loan servicers
  • Qualifying for forgiveness
  • Available tax breaks
  • Private loans
  • Bankruptcy option
  • Avoiding debt-relief swindles

In addition, Wasik provides some helpful case studies based on his own personal experiences. Finally, he compiles a list of other resources—books and websites—that can also be beneficial. It’s hard to imagine a better investment than the less than $4 you would spend for this e-book.

Larry Swedroe is the director of research for The BAM Alliance, a community of more than 140 independent registered investment advisors throughout the country.


Larry Swedroe is a principal and the director of research for Buckingham Strategic Wealth, an independent member of the BAM Alliance. Previously, he was vice chairman of Prudential Home Mortgage.