A sports injury didn’t keep UTC student Zachary Freeman from financing his college education. When he hurt his knee playing football his senior year of high school, Freeman found other ways to fund his college education than athletic scholarships.
Freeman is attending his freshmen year at UTC for free after receiving ten scholarships from various organizations in Middle Tennessee, including Masonic lodges, electric cooperatives, family foundations, and corporate associations.
“It’s a lot of effort to do scholarships, but it’s necessary to write all the essays and jump through all the hoops to get the money,” Freeman said. “Writing is the most crucial part of scholarship application. A bad essay equals failure. A great essay equals success. It’s that simple.”
Based on his experience of applying for dozens of scholarships, Freeman wrote the book Free Money Please, a guide to college financial aid.
“I wrote the book to teach students how to manage their finances better, starting with the way they choose college and financial aid,” he said. The book is available on his website, freemoneyplease.com and on Amazon.com as a Kindle edition.
“The book reached #2 on Amazon.com’s ‘Hot New Releases in Education’ list, at one point, and has been selling fairly well through my website as well,” he said. “Parents and counselors seem glad to have this resource available to help their high school students transition to college.”
Freeman advises students not to give up and persevere in their scholarship search.
“Choosing a college is the most important financial choice you make in your lifetime,” Freeman said. “I choose to attend UTC because of affordability and quality. It was the most reasonable option as far as pricing, and it has a great undergraduate business school.”
Tony Doyley, UTC Financial Literacy Advisor, echoed many of Freeman’s statements about making smart choices in college. Doyley works with students on budgeting and money management. He cautions students to live a frugal lifestyle during college.
“Live like a pauper now so you can be a king or queen later,” he said. “If you came to school with a 1992 beat-up Honda Civic, that means you drive that car for the next four years until you graduate. Wear the same wardrobe you have as a freshman for the next four years.”
“Do whatever you have to do to make it for four years and then once you graduate, and you’re making more money, you can do what you want with your money because you’re not having to pay it back to the government,” Doyley continued.
Freeman, a full-time business finance major, travels and speaks to different groups around the area about his experience.
“I went from just being the kid who paid for his college to writing a book about it, and now I’m speaking about it,” Freeman said. “I don’t know where it’s going to go from here, but I’m definitely excited about it. It’s been exciting to share with students, parents, and guidance counselors unique and interesting away to pay for college.”