Higher Education

The not-rich kid’s guide to graduating from college with almost no debt

Mon, Nov 16, 2015 - 8:00am

by Alex T. Williams

I was raised in a working-class neighborhood near Dallas by my mother, an immigrant from Vietnam. I attended the public schools nearby. We had metal detectors, drug searches using police dogs, a vice principal who was shot by a BB gun at a school assembly, and a teacher who was hospitalized after students put staples in her coffee — and that was just at my middle school.

I avoided the stress of dealing with drugs and gangs by routinely skipping classes. When I was 16, my high school...