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While President Biden has floated the idea of canceling “some” student loan debt — an idea both GOP and Democrat lawmakers alike are alarmed by, saying it would cost the government too much money and add to inflation — some college graduates with heavy debt loans aren’t waiting around for someone or something to bail them out.
They’re pushing forward, doing what’s right — and figuring out a way to pay off their own debt.
And for one Rutgers University graduate, that involved a novel idea.
New Jersey native Pathik Oza graduated in 2018 with a B.A. from Rutgers University — he studied psychology and biology — with $70,000 in student loans, he told Fox News Digital in an interview.
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And while Oza began pursuing another degree ahead of his plan to attend medical school, he also found a passion for rehoming used and discarded books.
“I was walking around one day during the summer, and I saw books lying there, and I thought there would be an opportunity,” he said.
“Why would books be thrown away? They could be redistributed to someone who may need them. So I just started this volunteer work where I would collect unwanted books,” he told Fox News Digital.
What began as a kind gesture and a chance to give back to local libraries, schools, shelters and children’s hospitals turned into a sparkling new business opportunity.
An increasing number of requests for books and a high demand for his services became something far too large for just Oza and his Toyota RAV4 to handle.
Pathik Oza made the decision to turn reselling books into a profitable business.
So Oza made the decision to turn reselling books into a business. He started off by opening an Amazon account.
He called his business O3 Books.
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“The profit would keep coming in, and it kept growing,” he said. “[In about] a month or so, I had around 1,000 to 2,000 books in Amazon warehouses. So it was pretty cool to see the growth in the business.”
Oza continued to expand by launching a website and opening an Etsy shop, which “blew up” while the world was locked down during the coronavirus pandemic.
He also found that there was especially high demand for his décor book sets and redesigned dust jackets; he moved in that direction to help spruce up the backgrounds of work-from-home Zoom meetings.
By the end of 2020, Oza had made $115,000 from his side business — which covered his student loans in full, and then some.
Oza learned “a lot about finances,” he said, by paying off his loans and by fueling his own small business at the same time.
Oza said he learned “a lot about finances” by paying off his loans and by fueling his own business at the same time.
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Today, the 25-year-old said he would feel “more comfortable” taking on different forms of borrowing in the future based on the financial knowledge he’s accumulated.
The success of O3 Books is now paying for Oza’s second degree in full, eliminating the burden of needing to take out another loan.
The small business owner has since switched career paths.
He’s been pursuing a degree in computer science, although the thought of hefty med school loans possibly in his future gave him an extra boost to take care of debt he already had.
“I felt it was urgent to pay those off,” he said.
For other students with debt who are looking for a way to pay down their loans, Oza said weighing the option of starting a small business is a good idea. He especially recommended taking advantage of online marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy.
“Any passion you’ve started, there’s definitely a market for it,” he said.
“You only need a small portion [of the population] to [help] generate revenue in sales. As long as you have 1% of the customers, you have a full-fledged business,” he added. “There’s always a market for something.”
Growing his own business has given Oza a boost in terms of financial literacy, so he also advised that saving and investing one’s money is always the “best option.”
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“Make sure to understand finances and how you can best allocate your income,” he said. “Loans are a burden no one wants — but you will get rid of them.”
Oza hopes one day to leave O3 Books with his parents — as a continual outlet for additional income. In other words, he wants it to stay in the family.
“This is an amazing side income I’ll keep forever,” he said. “I built a brand around it. I built a community around it. So, it’s something I can’t let go.”
“There is a market for your talent and there are many platforms you can use to showcase your skill.”
Oza also shared additional tips for anyone needing extra income or cash to pay down their student debt.
“I would suggest getting a part-time job — and if you do not have that much time, then use those available hours to make money with a skill you have,” he said.
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“It could be anything like marketing, art, web design, application development or teaching … There is a market for your talent and there are many platforms you can use to showcase your skill.”
“For example,” he added, “Instagram is an excellent place for artists to showcase their artwork … The best part about this is you can work when you are available.”
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Said Oza, “Social media has opened up many opportunities to market your skills and allow you to create a side or potentially full-time income from a passion or skill you have. Again, if your circumstance allows you to do this, try to lower your spending costs as much as possible.”