Duke Grad Student Secretly Lived In A Van To Escape Student Debt

Duke Grad Student Secretly Lived In A Van To Escape Student DebtBy the time Ken Ilgunas was wrapping up his last year of undergraduate studies at the University of Buffalo in 2005, he had no idea what kind of debt hole he’d dug himself into.

‘Paying back every dime’

He had majored in the least marketable fields of study possible — English and History — and had zero job prospects after getting turned down for no fewer than 25 paid internships.

He moved to Alaska and spent two years paying back every dime. Two and a half years after hitting the road, he made his final loan payment. With interest, he’d paid down $35,000. But he wasn’t ready to quit on his education just yet. He was determined to find a liberal arts program affordable enough to pay his way as he went. He settled on Duke, which charged about $2,500/semester.


‘Completely debt free’

When he found an ad for a $1,500 1994 Ford Econoline on Craigslist, he knew he was home. Luckily, he’d been assigned to a rarely-trafficked parking lot off campus. He could come and go as he pleased and no one noticed. The first few weeks were rough. Eventually, he got to work turning his van into a proper home. There was just one rule about his new lifestyle: Nobody could know about it.

He looked for odd jobs whenever possible, including working part-time tutoring kids at a local elementary school for extra cash. By his final semester, Ken had nearly made it. But he had just over $300 left to his name and still needed enough to last him a few months. So he turned himself into a lab rat for hire, volunteering in at least two dozen medical studies that paid $10 to $20 an hour for him to undergo cognitive tests, take experimental pills, and have his brains scanned in MRI machines. But it all paid off. He graduated in May 2011 — completely debt free.

Do you think you can pull off the feat that Ken Ilgunas did just to pay off his student debt? Feel free to share your insights with us!

Source: Mandi Woodruff | Business Insider, Yahoo Finance

Image: Salon

JaMarcus Russell Starting To Draw Interest From NFL Teams

JaMarcus Russell Starting To Draw Interest From NFL TeamsFormer Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell’s journey back to the gridiron hasn’t culminated in him landing an NFL contract, but the former top pick is reportedly closer than ever to finishing his comeback. According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Russell has drawn “significant” interest from multiple teams across the league.

‘Major signs of progress’

Though teams have known for months that Russell, the Raiders’ No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, is interested in making a comeback, they are reportedly starting to take his efforts more seriously after major signs of progress. According to Rapoport, Russell has lost 50 pounds since beginning his comeback attempt and is down to 265 pounds—what he weighed at the combine six years ago.

Now 27 years old, Russell has been out of football since being cut by Oakland in May of 2010, following three disappointing seasons with the club. Thought to be the Raiders’ next franchise quarterback, Russell started only 25 games with the club, compiling a 7-18 record, and he became known across the league as a talented yet frustrating player.


‘Massive promise’

Three years later, though, Russell has embarked on a journey to fulfill his massive promise. He’s been working out at the TEST Football Academy in San Diego and honing his skills as a quarterback with former Pro Bowl quarterback Jeff Garcia.

With Russell back down to playing weight and looking strong in throwing sessions, the interest around the league is understandable. Rapoport noted that Russell’s ideal situation is sitting behind a veteran NFL quarterback to learn and get reacclimated to the game and that he’s willing to try the CFL if NFL teams fail to extend a formal offer.

Do you think JaMarcus Russell will get a great offer from the NFL teams that are interested in him? Which team will he likely join?

Source: Tyler Conway, Bleacher Report

Image: Colts