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March 20, 2017

How to Get $126,000 in College Scholarships – with Jocelyn Paonita


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When my daughter Zoey was born we met with a financial advisor to discuss her future college needs. He advised us that for Zoey to attend an in-state college like Michigan State University, we’d be looking at a price tag of about $200,000. 4 years of college would cost us $200,000!

Since then, we’ve been diligently saving in our state sponsored 529 plan through low-cost index funds. But honestly we don’t feel like there is any way we’re going to be able to save that much money by the time she’s 18. And quite frankly, Nicole and I want to make sure we’re set for our retirement before Zoey and Calvin get a free ride to college. Sorry kids!

I’m thinking there are a lot of other parents that are in this similar situation. For that reason, I invited Jocelyn Paonita on the show this week.

Jocelyn Paonita, Founder of The Scholarship System
Jocelyn Paonita, Founder of The Scholarship System

Jocelyn is a recent college graduate who was able to attend college completely debt free based on earning $126,000 in scholarships. She wasn’t a star high school athlete or the valedictorian. She was just a hard-working and motivated student that did not want to come out of college with an ounce of debt.

Her experience in earning scholarships propelled her to start a company called the Scholarship System. Now, Jocelyn guides families and students to earn their own scholarships to clobber the massive costs of college.

What are we covering today?

On the show today, Jocelyn and I chat about:

  • Her inspiring debt free college story
  • How her scholarship program works
  • Advice on how parents and students can combat college costs together

If you have a child that is bound for college someday, listen to this informative conversation with Jocelyn. It’ll make you feel like there is hope that your kids will be able to attend college debt free after all. 

Show Notes

Jocelyn Paonita's Resources:

  • How to Secure Scholarships for College – FREE Webinar 
  • How to Secure Scholarships for College – Course

Andy's Free eBook: Save $1,000 in 3 Steps Without Leaving Home

Guest Bio: Jocelyn Paonita

Jocelyn Paonita (Pearson) is a recent college graduate with ZERO student loans. Not only was she able to get her entire college experience paid for including 6 months living abroad, but she also received a cash check each semester for any additional expenses.

Her goal in life is to share her strategies with as many high school and college students as possible so that they too can get their college experience paid for.

Jocelyn graduated from the #1 International Business program at the Darla Moore School of Business. She currently works for a global conglomerate as part of their Finance Leadership Development Program. She is the oldest of 5, has a loving husband and a rescue dog named Jaffe.

Carpe Diem Quote

“Diligence is the mother of good luck.”

-Benjamin Franklin

What's your experience been like with scholarships?

Andy Hill

Andy Hill, AFC® is the award-winning family finance coach behind Marriage Kids and Money - a platform dedicated to helping families build wealth and happiness. With millions of podcast downloads and video views, Andy’s message of family financial empowerment has resonated with listeners, readers and viewers across the world. When he's not "talking money", Andy enjoys being a Soccer Dad, singing karaoke with his wife and relaxing on his hammock.


  • I’m sorry….For the average, and I mean average, caucasian student, a scholarship is a long shot. I buy-in to FI concepts. There are not many good scholarships available to an average person. The best way to reduce college costs is to take AP courses in high school and as many community courses that you can get credit for and transfer them to the college that you will attend. Look at what this lady is charging for her information. How many reviews or her can you find?

    • Thanks for your feedback Steven. I completely felt the same way when I heard about this story as well. How the heck could she get this HUGE amount money being an “average Caucasian” (as you say)? It wasn’t until after I interviewed her on the show that I realized it was through some massive dedication on her side. She spent hours and hours filling out countless applications. The awards started to pile up until she had enough for a full ride.

      I’m no scholarship expert, but from what I’ve read there is almost $50 billion worth of scholarships available EACH YEAR in our country. They may not be easy to earn but you never know until you apply. I wish I would have taken more advantage of it personally. I received $2,500 in scholarships and I only applied to 5 opportunities. That’s a pretty good return for a average Caucasian guy.

      Thanks for the engagement Steven. I appreciate you keeping a dialogue going.


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