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Tonya McCleary

Student Loan and Budget Expert

Tonya McCleary is a veteran TV journalist and manager, talent coach, managing editor for Exhale for Women Empowerment Magazine and author of "How to Get Your Kid in College and Live to Tell the Tale." She is an expert in financing higher education and saving on college costs. Tonya is also the owner of Tri M Media Marketing Maven LLC, providing crisis management and media-readiness coaching to businesses and athletes. For more info: www.MediaMarketingMaven.com.

Posts by Tonya McCleary:

by Tonya McCleary Nov 24, 2015

Owning a franchise can seem like a great way to make money. In the past I’ve been contacted by various companies suggesting I become a franchise owner, but I did some research and found that it was not the right fit for me. During the past year, I have encountered several people who took the plunge, but in some cases failed to do their homework. If you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur and a new franchisee, it’s a good idea to do some digging (or hire someone to do it for you if you can afford it). Read more

by Tonya McCleary Nov 09, 2017

I recently met a mother who was so proud of her son’s 33 ACT score that she carried it around with her in her purse. She actually pulled it out to show me. Remember, the highest score you can get is 36, so this student was leading the pack. Still, his mother was concerned about him getting in to the best school possible even though he was only a junior. I said, “Job well done” and told her her son was in the driver’s seat when it comes to college choices and should be ready for “full ride” offers from some heavy-hitters. Read more

by Tonya McCleary Jun 19, 2018

I was recently perusing the 2013 Gallup survey on “Honesty/Ethics in Professions.” Those who participated in Gallup’s survey where give a simple prompt: “Please tell me how you would rate the honest and ethical standards of people in these different fields- very high, high, average, low or very low.” The resulting ranking was based on what percentage of those surveyed thought the profession had very high/high ethical standards. Read more

by Tonya McCleary Dec 16, 2016

It’s no surprise that fake news stories and internet rumors can lead to misinformation. But if you base financial decisions, like where to donate money, on this bad information, they can affect your… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Nov 09, 2017

Fall can be a frenzy of college applications. I know you told your student to get everything ready to send off or file online, yet here you are about to pull your hair out because little or none of… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Feb 11, 2020

‘Tis the bewitching season, and it seems there are plenty of ghosts and goblins out there for those just starting out on their own. Perhaps you’re a millennial who just finished college, or you’ve… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Nov 09, 2017

Fall is around the corner and football season is in full swing. The search for scholarships should be, too, as the period we are currently in is critical. Students have just taken their final ACT and… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Jan 15, 2016

Previously on the blog we have discussed having you or your student’s financial aid refreshed due to a change in income in broad terms. Now it’s time to school you on some specific steps that must… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Nov 07, 2017

During one summer break, I offered my assistance to a student and her mom in preparing her for the college application essay explosion that is on the way. I was both stunned and saddened that while… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Dec 17, 2014

So often we find ourselves at crossroads in life and rather than turning right or left, we stand still and let life overwhelm and overtake us. To combat this, many people are turning to professionals… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Nov 07, 2017

Remember, Grease 2, and the song “back to school again?” (Yes, some of us are not embarrassed to admit we like it.) Well, when it’s time to wind down summer break and get ready for the school bell,… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Feb 14, 2020

So you’ve got a new job paying you more money across town, across the state or maybe even across the country. You sort of feel like “The Jeffersons” of TV fame in that “you’re moving on up.” Well,… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Jul 26, 2014

A relative told me that during a recent conference she had to attend a session on proper work dress. It was humorous for her since she usually works from home. Later, a former colleague of mine took… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Jan 02, 2015

The other day I received an interesting letter in the mail. It was from my pharmacy, asking if I would participate in a clinical trial. First, I felt it was too “1984” and I raged against “big… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Dec 18, 2014

The debate over what a landlord should have to disclose when it comes to a house’s history has resurfaced. It centers around a case in which a St. Louis-area woman who received a government housing… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Mar 14, 2018

You pay taxes, can vote and even join the military, but still your parents’ income may decide how much financial aid you are eligible to receive. That is because it is all based on the FAFSA (Free… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Apr 13, 2018

You save up, fly in or load up a mobile home or van and you are off on your family vacation. However, so often we put things off because of money and time constraints. I have reached a point in my… Read more

by Tonya McCleary May 19, 2014

You got that student loan to pay for college, or maybe you used the cash for that spring break vacay. Whatever you used the money for, it is time to pay the piper. The problem is you are graduating… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Nov 07, 2017

I remember growing up as the youngest of seven siblings. My mother was both a working and a stay-at-home mom. My father worked sometimes three jobs just to make sure we had a roof over our heads and… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Jan 02, 2015

The word nontraditional can have many different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. For our conversation on continuing your education, it means a student between older than 24.… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Mar 14, 2018

I have in the past warned parents of mistakes in the home stretch of senior year that could cost your child his or her moment in the sun, graduation. It can also impact how much you pay for your… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Jan 02, 2015

Since February 1, 2014 the U.S. Department of State has issued ten travel alerts or warnings due to civil unrest. Among the countries are Thailand, Ukraine, and Afghanistan. Such countries are not… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Jul 05, 2017

We’ve all heard the sanitized saying “life happens.” Well so does death, but most of us dread even the thought of it, so we push talk of it aside. When it comes to life insurance, we often leave that… Read more

by Tonya McCleary Dec 21, 2017

A recent business journal compared her to multi-billion dollar baby Oprah Winfrey, but talk-show host Charla Young is the first to admit she is flattered and even flabbergasted at the comparison. Read more

by Tonya McCleary Dec 22, 2016

Many parents are in the middle of filling out their student’s FAFSA form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This can make you and your child a prime target for scammers and identity… Read more