The Herald Bulletin

June 9, 2012

Since '09, AU grad has paid off $42,000 in loans

Bausman lives debt-free after previous struggles

By Melanie D. Hayes
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Jon Bausman was extra motivated to get a good education — and do it with as little debt as possible, and to pay off those loans as soon as he could.

Bausman, 26, earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing communications from Anderson University in 2008 and his MBA in 2009.

He graduated with $42,000 in student debt, and three years later the Indianapolis resident has it all paid off.

Paying for his tuition and debt didn’t come without sacrifices, though.

During his older brother’s first two years at DePauw University, Bausman was living at home finishing up high school.

“My mom took on a night shift, which was higher paying, to help pay for his education and then mine,” he said. “Each night when I went to bed, she was going to work. I made sure that every night I told her thank you.”

When Bausman went to AU, his parents pledged to help pay a portion of his tuition each year. He covered the rest of his expenses with loans and money he earned while working at the university’s admissions office. During his senior year, he had two jobs, an internship, presided over his college social club and had a full course load.

He also received the second-highest scholarship AU could offer, which initially covered about half of his tuition. By the time he graduated, the loan covered about one-third because of tuition increases.

For half of the time since he graduated three years ago, Bausman was unemployed or a private contractor, which didn’t pay much. He deferred his loans during that time.

He has only had a year of wealth accumulation but managed to pay off all his loans in February.

“I paid it off, but I made a lot of sacrifices, a lot of decisions that weren’t fun decisions, to get to that point,” Bausman said.

He drove a Chevy Lumina that had 270,000 miles on it and no air conditioning until it could go no longer. His next car came from an auto auction.

Bausman got a job at the Ricker’s corporate office in Anderson, but for several months he had to continue living at home on the south side of Indianapolis and made the long and expensive commute. He also slept on couches at the homes of friends and was even taken in a by a family he had only recently met. They wanted to help him and invited him to move in for four months.

He made minimal payments on his loans and stockpiled whatever money he could, in case of an emergency.

Then, in October, Bausman got a job as a digital strategist and project manager at Fusion Alliance in Indianapolis.

At that point Bausman made his first very large payment on this student loans. He continued to send checks; in February he sent his last one.

“It wasn’t a cakewalk, for sure,” Bausman said. “But the blessing is that I am completely debt-free and paid for everything I have in cash. Based on my budget and lifestyle, I can set aside money, have six-month emergency savings and can invest my money so it can build up.”

Find Melanie D. Hayes on Facebook and @MelanieDHayes on Twitter, or call 648-4250.