DETROIT -

Paying for college or student loan debt is a struggle for most families. And it’s usually the No. 1 reason most don’t even go to college. But a Detroit man who managed to score $500,000 in scholarships is now helping others to the same.

Marvis Burns was born on Detroit’s east side. He went to Stephens Elementary. Now 25, and with a college degree from Cornell University, he is also an Amazon best-selling author.

His book, “The Insiders Guide to a Free Ride,” is a how-to book about applying for scholarship money.

Marvis Burns book

He applied for 72 scholarships and, despite getting a lot of rejections, finally made out with hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship money.

Burns says there’s a science to applying, and it starts with telling your story – your story of experiences, organizations, affiliations and volunteer work.

Burns says there are two types of scholarships, local and national. He says the Internet is the place to find thousands of them that are offered through banks, employers, fraternities, sororities. Search a school database and apply for as many as you can. Tailor your applications based on the requirements for the scholarship – much like a job application.

And, although grades aren’t everything, Burns says it’s still important to try to keep them as high as you can.

Burns lives in Philadelphia and is pursuing his MBA at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. But he makes trips back to Detroit to speak to parents and students.

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