Graduating from college debt-free

(WVLT) -- It's a big accomplishment for both the parents and children when they graduate from college, but most fresh graduates immediately face years of paying off student loans after that.

We talked to a family financial expert to find out how to prevent that student loan debt that could last upwards of 30 years. Ellie Kay has 7 children, four of whom have graduated college completely debt-free. She has two more in school who are projected to graduate in the black, and one who she's prepping right now to make all the right decisions when it comes to money as he heads off to school in a few years.

She suggests they first make the appropriate choices before they go to school. "They go to the best school that they can get in to that they can afford to graduate from with minimal student loan debt and in our case, no student loan debt. We also require that they work, they do work study programs, they earn scholarships," says Kay.

Another big money saver is to rent textbooks rather than buying them. Going to will get students started on how to do that.

Campus cards are another money-saver. Kay suggests, "...Not only can parents put funds on there, but your financial aid can be put on there as well. It's very important that you spend those hard-earned financial aid dollars wisely, especially when it comes to things like getting your books and others things you're going to be using on campus."

What's most difficult for many parents is making their children realize how important it is to understand the reality of what they're spending. Ellie says, "One of the things we have told our children is as long as we are funding a portion of their money, we are funding a portion of their education, whether its tuition or we're sending them a monthly amount. Then we have the option of being informed about how our money and our investments are being spent."

For more information on saving money and for more tips, visit


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