The mantra a 20-year-old student used to pay off his tuition

Long Island native Eric Hu paid his $48,280 freshman tuition bill, and is on track to do the same for the 2015-2016 school year. Here's how.

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College tuition is an overwhelming amount for just about anyone to cover—let alone a full-time student-athlete attending one of the most expensive colleges in the US.

Yet one New York University sophomore managed to do just that: Long Island native Eric Hu paid his $48,280 freshman tuition bill, and is on track to do the same for the 2015-2016 school year. He did it through a variety of strategies, such as taking advantage of about $13,000 of scholarships, working multiple jobs, and following a clear financial plan.

Hu also had the right mindset. "Something the book Rich Dad Poor Dad taught me is to never think whether or not I can afford something, but how I will afford it," he tells Business Insider.

This mantra from Robert Kiyosaki's bestselling personal finance book helped him piece together several different jobs his freshman year, which took up 20 to 40 hours a week—and he still managed to find time to row crew, take classes, and squeeze in six hours of sleep a night.

"Surprisingly I didn't have too much trouble with time management," Hu says. "Of course, in the beginning it's shell shocking—you're thrown into college, which is hard enough as is, and then you're in New York City, where there is literally no coddling at all. I took a step-by-step approach to everything. Even to this day, what I'll do at night is plan out the entire next day. I'll make sure every waking moment is assigned to doing something productive. It's all about being organized and being realistic about what you can possibly accomplish."

For Hu, covering thousands of dollars worth of tuition each year has become a reality. He directs 80% of his income towards tuition, meaning he still has money left over to put towards retirement, other savings goals, and even luxury items like camera gear, concert tickets, new clothes, and a gym membership.

"[This mindset] breeds creativity, determination, and a rewarding lifestyle," he says.

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This article was written by Kathleen Elkins from Business Insider and was licensed as an article reprint from January 20, 2016. Article copyright 2016 by Business Insider.
The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. Fidelity Investments cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any statements or data.
This reprint is supplied by Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC.
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