Debt-Free Degree by Anthony ONeal
  • Title: Debt-Free Degree
  • Subtitle: The Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Kid Through College Without Student Loans
  • Author(s): Anthony ONeal
  • Publisher: Ramsey Press
  • Year: 2019-10-07
  • ISBN-10: 1942121121
  • ISBN-13: 9781942121121


Debt-Free Degree” by Anthony ONeal is an insightful guide for students and parents seeking to pursue higher education without drowning in student loan debt. ONeal, a financial literacy expert, shares practical advice and strategies to navigate the complex world of college financing. Drawing from personal experiences and extensive research, the author empowers readers to make well-informed decisions, such as choosing the right school and major, seeking scholarships and grants, and working part-time during college. With a straightforward writing style and relatable examples, ONeal provides actionable steps to help students graduate with a degree while avoiding the burden of loans, setting them up for financial success after graduation.

This book not only tackles the financial aspect of college but also emphasizes the importance of personal responsibility, discipline, and developing a strong work ethic. ONeal encourages readers to critically evaluate their career goals and the potential ROI of their chosen degree, debunking the myth that every college degree is automatically worth the investment. Furthermore, he addresses the common misconception that taking on massive amounts of debt is a necessary evil, presenting compelling alternatives to traditional college, such as trade schools and entrepreneurship. “Debt-Free Degree” is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to achieve their educational goals without compromising their financial future.

Book Review

“Debt-Free Degree” by Anthony ONeal is an eye-opening and pragmatic guide that aims to assist students and parents in navigating the often-daunting world of college financing. Drawing from personal experiences and extensive research, ONeal presents a comprehensive roadmap for achieving a college education without accumulating massive amounts of student loan debt.

One of the standout aspects of this book is ONeal’s emphasis on making informed decisions when it comes to selecting a college and major. He provides practical advice on how to evaluate the return on investment (ROI) of various degrees, encouraging readers to consider factors such as job prospects, salary potential, and industry trends. For example, ONeal discusses the story of a student named Sarah who dreamed of becoming a social worker, but after thorough research, realized that the low starting salary in her field would make it difficult for her to repay significant student loans. This example illustrates the importance of carefully considering the ROI before committing to a specific major.

Furthermore, the author provides valuable insights on finding scholarships, grants, and alternative sources of financial aid. He encourages students to actively search for scholarships throughout their high school years and emphasizes the power of small scholarships that can accumulate over time. Additionally, ONeal advises students to think beyond traditional financial aid options by exploring lesser-known opportunities such as employer tuition reimbursement programs or military service.

Perhaps one of the most helpful aspects of “Debt-Free Degree” is ONeal’s emphasis on personal responsibility, work ethic, and the potential value of alternative pathways to success outside of a traditional four-year degree. He discusses the benefits of trade schools and vocational training as viable options for students to gain skills in high-demand industries and secure well-paying jobs without the burden of a college degree. ONeal also shares inspiring success stories of individuals who started their own businesses or pursued entrepreneurial paths instead of a conventional career. This refreshing perspective challenges the notion that a college degree is the only pathway to success and empowers readers to explore their own unique options.

ONeal’s writing style is engaging and accessible, making complex financial concepts and strategies easy to understand. The book is filled with relatable examples, anecdotes, and actionable steps that readers can implement immediately. Whether it’s creating a budget, managing expenses, or finding part-time work during college, ONeal provides practical advice that is realistic and achievable.

Overall, “Debt-Free Degree” serves as an invaluable resource for students and parents alike, offering a comprehensive approach to pursuing higher education without the weight of student loan debt. By combining financial literacy, career exploration, and alternative pathways to success, Anthony ONeal equips readers with the tools they need to make informed choices, graduate debt-free, and lay a solid foundation for a successful financial future.

Word Count: 464

Key Ideas

Debt-Free Degree: The Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Kid Through College Without Student Loans” by Anthony ONeal is a practical guide that provides parents and students with strategies for pursuing a college education without accumulating student loan debt. Here are the key ideas and themes from the book:

  1. The Student Loan Crisis ONeal starts by highlighting the magnitude of the student loan crisis in the United States and the long-term financial burden it places on graduates. He emphasizes the importance of finding alternative ways to pay for college.

  2. Planning and Preparation The book stresses the significance of early planning and preparation for college. ONeal encourages parents and students to begin thinking about college costs and financial options well before the application process begins.

  3. Scholarships and Grants One of the central ideas of the book is the pursuit of scholarships and grants. ONeal provides strategies for identifying and applying for various scholarship opportunities, including academic, athletic, and community-based scholarships.

  4. Choosing the Right College ONeal discusses the importance of making informed decisions when selecting a college. He advises students to consider factors like location, major, and tuition costs, and to explore options such as community colleges and trade schools.

  5. Working Through College The book advocates for students to work part-time jobs during college to help cover expenses. ONeal offers tips on time management and balancing work with academics.

  6. Community College as a Starter ONeal suggests that community college can be a cost-effective way to complete general education requirements before transferring to a four-year institution. This approach can significantly reduce overall college costs.

  7. Choosing the Right Major The book addresses the importance of selecting a major that aligns with career goals and employment prospects. ONeal recommends choosing a major that is both fulfilling and financially viable.

  8. Financial Literacy “Debt-Free Degree” underscores the significance of financial literacy and responsible money management throughout college. ONeal provides advice on budgeting, saving, and avoiding unnecessary expenses.

  9. Avoiding Student Loans The central message of the book is to avoid student loans whenever possible. ONeal argues that it’s entirely feasible to graduate from college without debt by strategically pursuing scholarships, working, and making informed choices.

  10. Alternative Education Paths The book acknowledges that a traditional four-year college may not be the best choice for everyone. ONeal discusses alternative education paths, such as trade schools and online courses, as viable options for pursuing a career.

  11. Parental Support ONeal emphasizes the role of parents in guiding their children toward debt-free college education. He encourages parents to start conversations about college financing early and to support their children in making informed choices.

Debt-Free Degree” provides a step-by-step roadmap for students and parents who want to achieve a college education without the financial burden of student loans. It offers practical advice and actionable strategies to help individuals navigate the complex landscape of college financing and make wise decisions about their educational and financial future.

Target Audience

The book “Debt-Free Degree” by Anthony ONeal is primarily targeted at students and parents who are seeking guidance on how to pursue higher education without acquiring burdensome student loan debt. However, it also has broader relevance for anyone interested in personal finance, financial literacy, and alternative pathways to success.

The book is recommended reading for the following audiences:

  • High School and College Students ONeal provides practical strategies for choosing the right college, evaluating the ROI of various degrees, and seeking scholarships and grants. The book empowers students to take responsibility for their financial decisions and equips them with the tools to graduate debt-free.

  • Parents and Guardians For parents concerned about their child’s future and financial well-being, “Debt-Free Degree” offers valuable insights and advice. It provides a roadmap for navigating the college financial landscape and helps parents guide their children towards making informed choices about their education.

  • Financial Literacy Advocates The book is recommended for those who are passionate about promoting financial education and literacy. ONeal’s approach breaks down complex financial concepts into digestible information, making it accessible to individuals looking to enhance their own financial knowledge or teach others about personal finance.

  • Alternative Education Advocates “Debt-Free Degree” is relevant for individuals who are exploring alternative pathways to traditional higher education. By discussing trade schools, vocational training, and entrepreneurship, ONeal encourages readers to think creatively about their career options and challenges the assumption that a college degree is the only route to success.

In conclusion, “Debt-Free Degree” is recommended reading for students, parents, financial literacy advocates, and those interested in alternative education. By offering practical advice, inspiring stories, and a fresh perspective on college and career choices, Anthony ONeal empowers readers to make informed decisions and create a pathway to a successful and financially secure future.