Investing in real estate to eliminate college debt

Novella Williams, YEA

BY SKYLA LUCKEY, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — A college freshman or sophomore isn’t focused on the college loan debt that awaits them after graduation. But once they become a junior or senior, they might start to think differently. Young Entrepreneurs Alliance (YEA), founded by Carol Witt and Novella Williams, is a newly launched program that teaches students to eliminate student loan debt by becoming real estate entrepreneur.

Carol Witt

Carol Witt, YEA

Witt has a background in youth mentorship and worked in the real estate market for five years.

Last October she attended a refresher real estate course and noticed that her classmates were barely out of college. She asked them why they were taking the course and they all had the same answer—to get out of college debt. This is what sparked the idea to create YEA.

“That was the moment I had my product,” Witt said. “I knew that teaching college students real estate investing would be a way to help them get out of debt.”

She started making phone calls to people she knew in the realtor business and shared her idea. Many of her contacts were excited to hear about this new way of giving back and volunteered to mentor students and bring their veteran real estate knowledge to the classroom.

After a few meetings with Williams, she brought her onboard as her partner. Williams works as an empowerment coach and has a background in non-profit work helping individuals around the world from Bolivia to South Africa back to the United States.

YEA is a yearlong program that matches each college student with a mentor who will coach them along the way.  Williams heads the daily 30-minute motivational conference call that takes place in the mornings and helps students stay on track.

college students, YEA

“We want to serve 75 students a year,” said Witt. “That means 75 students and 75 mentors because every student is placed with a mentor. How we’re willing to do that is through modules.”

For example, 25 students will be placed in module one. The students from module one that meets all their requirements will advance to module two, and a new set of students will enter module one. Each module lasts 90 days.

YEA is currently seeking additional students and mentors, who will receive training. Students and mentors will meet in person once a week at a designated building. Currently they meet on Thursday nights at Panera Bread on Fourth Street North near 12th Avenue. The location will change once they find a more classroom like setting to host these trainings.

Williams explained that the program is very structured, as she has created check off lists within each module so that students can keep track of what they’ve completed.

“What we’re saying they’re going to get from this program, number one is excellent credit,” said Williams. “They’re going to have to get an intimate relationship with their finances, which means looking at their bills right now and their student debt.”

Knowledge of establishing good credit will be acquired in the first phase of the program all while they’re taking the first steps of wholesale real estate because Williams explained one does not need credit or good credit to work with wholesale. The next aspect of the program is buying a house and flipping it.

There are other aspects to the program that will benefit college students mentally and financially. If you are interested in more information or participating in YEA as a mentor or a student, contact Witt at (727) 871-0205 or Williams at (305) 562-2072.

Feel free to also contact them if anyone in the community would like to donate space to the program.

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