Advocating for safety and savings

Spring 2017 Edition

Marcia Kelley's books help navigate the common pitfalls of college life

Marcia Kelley

Marcia Kelley

Marcia Kelley graduated from KU in 1977, and after becoming a mom, she started saving money for her sons’ college education. But then, “Life got in the way,” Kelley said.   

“We ended up using the money we had saved for their college for other life emergencies   medical issues, job loss things of that nature,” she said. “We had to come up with some creative ways to come up with the money because we did not want them to incur a lot of college debt.”

Kelley said relatives often asked about her saving strategies, so she decided to share her tips by writing a book, “How to Graduate Debt-Free: Proven Strategies for Avoiding Debt Traps.”

“They were like, ‘You’ve done really well with your kids as far as getting them through school without a whole lot of college debt or no debt, and we want to know how you did it,’” Kelley said.

“How to Graduate Debt-Free” is Kelley’s second how-to book for college students and parents. Her first book, “Stay Safe on Campus! Tips for Prevention Techniques for Emergencies,” addresses issues that parents and students may not think about when searching for the perfect college, including assaults, theft, hazing, drinking, and guns on campus.

Kelley said that families should research campus gun policies and crime statistics to make sure that their children are attending safe campuses. KU will allow concealed handguns by July 1 of this year.

“Some people want their children to carry guns, and if they do that, I definitely would advocate for proper concealed carry training,” she said. “If they don’t want to carry guns or don’t want to be around them, I think the parents of the students need to know that because then they may choose a different school. Maybe that’s not something that agrees with their family values.”

Kelley graduated from the J-School with a degree in broadcast production. She said the J-School’s law of communications class inspired her while she was a student.

“At that time, that was when Watergate was going on, and we got to take a look at how law can affect communications,” she said.

Kelley thinks her books have been successful with the public, especially “How to Graduate Debt-Free.”

“Whenever I mention to anyone, even people that I don’t know, that I’ve written a book, the first thing they ask me is, ‘Well, what are your books about?’ When I mention this book in particular, they’re always like, ‘Oh my goodness! Where can I get that book?’” she said.

“Stay Safe on Campus” was published in 2015, while “How to Graduate Debt-Free was published last year.

— Erik Nelson is a junior from Hopkins, Minnesota, studying news and information.