Student Lives in Van to Avoid Student Loans

We should all avoid student loans by living in a van! According to Yahoo Finance, a graduate student lived out of a van so that he wouldn’t get student loans.

student loan debtKen Ilgunas acquired $32,000 of student loans when he finished his undergraduate studies. He immediately felt the stress of the student loans and wanted to get rid of them, but he had a big problem— he wasn’t able to find a job in his field. So he took a low-waged position, earning just $8/ hour even though he had a college degree, and lived very frugally to aggressively pay down his student loans. After two and a half years of this, he paid a total of $35,000 (some interest had accrued on the student loans) and was free of his student loans, but he wanted wanted to continue his education. Ken figured that living out of his van while almost starving himself and freezing to death during cold winter nights would be the sacrifice that he was willing to take to avoid getting student loans again.

Now this is a really extreme way to avoid student loans, but I can understand the logic behind him doing this.

Attending college is much more affordable when you just have to pay for tuition. Adding in the cost of room and board to your college fees can just about double your cost of attending that particular college. For example, if you go to a college in your state of residence, tuition may be $4000- $5000 per semester (depending on which college you attend the cost can be higher or lower). The room and board (on campus housing and meal plan) will add an additional $5000 or so to your cost of attendance each semester. So instead of college costing $5,000 a semester, it now costs $10,000 each semester with the housing and the meal plan. Over 4 years, with just tuition costs you might have had to get only $20,000 in student loans but now that you had to pay for housing and meals, you had to take out $40,000 in student loans.

Luckily, I didn’t have to make this extreme sacrifice to avoid student loans and you don’t either. I applied for and won enough scholarships to cover all of my school costs AND even got money back from the college. You too can do the same thing.

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By: Shanice Miller, founder of

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