Meet the 6 Amazing Winners of Our Spring 2018 Student Loan Hero Scholarship

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the financial institution.

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Student Loan Hero is excited to announce the six winners of our spring 2018 scholarship.

After reviewing hundreds of applications, our financial experts selected six amazing students who impressed us with their drive and commitment to their education.

Not only are these students determined to reach their goals, but they also demonstrated incredible resilience in overcoming challenging circumstances in their lives.

We sincerely hope these scholarships — $5,000 for two students and $2,000 for four students — will relieve some financial pressure as they work toward their degrees.

Here are the unforgettable stories of the six winners of the Student Loan Hero $5K Scholarship for spring 2018.

Amanda Boykin, University of Cincinnati

Main prize: $5,000

Amanda Boykin scholarship winner

Having graduated from Wright State University with her Bachelor of Science in nursing, Amanda Boykin now studies at the University of Cincinnati to become a family nurse practitioner. She works in the neonatal intensive care unit and plans to use her degree to provide care for underprivileged and underserved communities.

Amanda grew up in an underprivileged community herself, and her family struggled with drug addiction, abuse, and poverty. She had to leave her home at the age of 13 and spent years bouncing from one unstable relative’s home to another. At one point, Amanda survived as a homeless teen before finally finding a long-term home.

Despite these hardships, Amanda became the first person in her family to attend college.

“As a child, college was never seen as an option for me,” explains Amanda. “I didn’t believe I was smart enough to obtain a degree. I now recognize the ecological and generational factors that influenced my mindset.”

Now, Amanda hopes to work with disadvantaged youth, particularly young women, to help them improve their circumstances.

“I hope to be able to show them that it is possible,” says Amanda. “We can ‘get out.’ They can overcome the sociological, socioeconomic, and ecological factors that they struggle with every day.”

Jiana Graham, Temple University

Main prize: $5,000

Jiana Graham scholarship winner

Jiana Graham is a freshman at Temple University studying global studies and sociology with a minor in Spanish. A child of immigrants from Jamaica, Jiana plans to use her degree to work with women and underserved populations in developing countries.

After immigrating from Jamaica, Jiana’s mother struggled as a single parent of five. Despite her financial struggles, she studied to become a nurse. Now, she manages to take the family back to Jamaica every year so they can see where she came from.

“Going back to Jamaica every year and seeing how radically different these two places are keeps me grounded and opens my eyes to how lucky I am to live in the United States,” says Jiana.

“I want to be prepared to make an impact in countries less fortunate than our own,” adds Jiana, pointing to countries such as India and Yemen, where societal norms can limit women’s freedom.

With her education in international relations and sociology, Jiana aspires to travel the world and empower women.

Mariia Anosova, Millersville University

Runner-up prize: $2,000

After struggling with hunger and poverty in post-Soviet Ukraine, Mariia Anosova came to the U.S. for an education and to help her family. She’s enrolled in a family nurse practitioner program at Millersville University, and she hopes to support her family and one day reunite with them on American soil.

After high school, Mariia jumped at the “miraculous chance” to come to the U.S. through Rotary International’s exchange program. “Coming to America meant not only an opportunity for a better education but also a chance to help my family,” says Mariia.

“Mostly, I chose to become a nurse because in America it meant a steady income, and in the Ukraine, income equals freedom of choice, a better education for my sister, sufficient food for cold winters, and a stable retirement for my parents,” explains Mariia.

After a childhood marked by struggle, Mariia is working hard to fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse practitioner and achieving financial stability for herself and her family.

David Beka Binyam, Miami University

Runner-up prize: $2,000

David Beka Binyam is a junior at Miami University majoring in geology with a minor in geographic information systems. Originally from Cameroon, David came to the U.S. through the diversity visa program, a lottery system that awards 55,000 immigrant visas per year.

Throughout his childhood, David struggled with poverty along with his five brothers and sisters. When he was just 13, he started selling grilled nuts on the street to earn money to pay his high school fees.

At 16, he took on construction jobs, which helped him make enough money to enroll at the University of Yaounde in the capital of Cameroon.

“Being successful in life via education has always been my main motivation,” says David.

He hopes getting his degree will provide financial stability for himself, his wife, and their infant son. He plans to use his scholarship to fund a five-week field camp training.

“The trip is quite expensive but fundamental for a geologist student and will allow me to deepen my knowledge, gain practical skills, and be competitive in the professional world,” explains David.

Olivia Janisse, Governors State University

Runner-up prize: $2,000

As a student pursuing her master’s degree in social work at Governors State University in Illinois, Olivia Janisse plans to work as an advocate for people with disabilities. She’s a student member of the National Association of Social Workers, and she works for a nonprofit that helps low-income people qualify for low-cost hearing assistive devices.

Olivia was drawn to this work after suffering profound hearing loss at the age of 11. Her parents had trouble paying for a hearing aid, but assistance programs deemed their income too high to qualify for aid.

She found herself in this gray area again when she went to college. She didn’t qualify for a lot of federal aid but was still struggling financially.

“I took out an incredible amount of private student loan debt not knowing the differences between fixed and variable loans, not knowing that there was no forgiveness of these loans and few opportunities for forbearance,” recalls Olivia.

Since borrowing all that money, Olivia has learned better ways to manage her student debt. She’s now able to educate others on how to pay for school, as well as how to afford the disability assistance they need.

“I feel that as a disability advocate and future social work practitioner, I will practice in a competent way because of the financial hardships I have experienced,” says Olivia. “I am a better person, and the community I have served will benefit.”

Nelson Ross, Wichita State University

Runner-up prize: $2,000

Nelson Ross scholarship winner

Nelson Ross is pursuing his master’s degree in public administration at Wichita State University. Nelson hopes to achieve a career in political science and international relations, particularly as a foreign service officer.

While he’s confident about his career path today, his journey getting there wasn’t easy.

“Paying bills was extremely stressful on my parents while raising my three sisters and me,” says Nelson. “That, combined with my father being left handicapped after multiple strokes and a heart attack, was a major cause of my parent’s divorce in my early teens.”

Nelson got through these hardships with the help of comic books and action figures his father would give him for Christmas and his birthday.

“As a child, and well into my adult life, my dreams have been characterized by comic book superheroes,” says Nelson. “I would protect the world from numerous disasters in all forms alongside the greatest characters of the comic book landscapes.”

Over the years, Nelson realized he wanted to be a force for good in the world, just like his superhero role models. “I want to imitate my fictional idols,” he says.

With his background in public administration, Nelson hopes to promote social justice throughout the world.

Get ready for Student Loan Hero’s fall 2018 scholarship

The spring 2018 scholarship winners have overcome major obstacles to get where they are today. We hope these scholarships will help them reach their goals and are confident they’ll continue to achieve great things.

If you’re a current or soon-to-be college or graduate school student, we invite you to apply for our fall 2018 scholarship contest. The application will be open from March 12 to May 11, and we will notify winners on June 8.

We’re looking forward to hearing your unique stories this spring. In the meantime, check out this guide to find even more opportunities for scholarships.

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2 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

CollegeAve Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

(1)All rates shown include the auto-pay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

(2)This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with an 8-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7% variable Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 96 monthly payments of $179.28 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $17,211.20. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

(3)As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000.

Information advertised valid as of 5/22/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.


* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
3 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.

4 Important Disclosures for Discover.

Discover Disclosures

  1. At least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) qualifies for a one-time cash reward of 1% of the loan amount of each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan. Reward redemption period is limited. Please visit DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Reward for any applicable reward terms and conditions.
  2. View Terms and Conditions at DiscoverStudentLoans.com/AutoDebitReward.

5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.

SunTrust Disclosures

Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.

Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.

©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. Interest rates and APRs (Annual Percentage Rates) depend upon (a) the student’s and cosigner’s (if applicable) credit histories, (b) the repayment option and repayment term selected, (c) the requested loan amount and (d) other information provided on the online loan application. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate applicable to your loan. Rates and terms effective for applications received on or after 5/1/2019. The current variable APRs for the program range from 4.251% APR to 11.300% APR and the current fixed APRs for the program range from 5.251% APR to 12.00% APR (the low APRs within these ranges assume a 7-year $10,000 loan, with two disbursements and no deferment; the high APRs within these ranges assume a 15-year $10,000 loan with two disbursements). The variable interest rate for each calendar month is calculated by adding the current One-month LIBOR index to your margin. LIBOR stands for London Interbank Offered Rate. The One-month LIBOR is published in the Money Rates section of The Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition). The One-month LIBOR index is captured on the 25th day of the immediately preceding calendar month (or if the 25th is not a business day, the next business day thereafter), and is rounded up to the nearest 1/8th of one percent. The current One-month LIBOR index is 2.500% on 5/1/2019. The variable interest rate will increase or decrease if the One-month LIBOR index changes. The fixed rate assigned to a loan will never change except as required by law or if you request and qualify for the auto pay discount.
  2. Any applicant who applies for a loan the month of, the month prior to, or the month after the student’s graduation date, as stated on the application or certified by the school, will only be offered the Immediate Repayment option. The student must be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible for the partial interest, fully deferred and interest only repayment options unless the loan is being used for a past due balance and the student is out of school. With the Full Deferment option, payments may be deferred while the student is enrolled at least half-time at an approved school and during the six month grace period after graduation or dropping below half-time status, but the total initial deferment period, including the grace period, may not exceed 66 months from the first disbursement date. The Partial Interest Repayment option (paying $25 per month during in-school deferment) is only available on loans of $5,000 or more. For payment examples, see footnote 7. With the Immediate Repayment option, the first payment of principal and interest will be due approximately 30-60 calendar days after the final disbursement date and the minimum monthly payment is $50.00. There are no prepayment penalties.
  3. The 15-year term and Partial Interest Repayment option (paying $25 per month during in-school deferment) are only available for loan amounts of $5,000 or more. Making interest only or partial interest payments while in school deferment (including the grace period) will not reduce the principal balance of the loan. Payment examples within this footnote assume a 45-month deferment period, a six-month grace period before entering repayment and the Partial Interest Repayment option. 7-year term: $10,000 loan disbursed over two transactions with a 7-year repayment term (84 months) and 8.382% APR would result in a monthly principal and interest payment of $198.61. 10-year term: $10,000 loan disbursed over two transactions with a 10-year repayment term (120 months) and an 8.851% APR would result in a monthly principal and interest payment of $161.70. 15-year term: $10,000 loan disbursed over two transactions with a 15-year repayment term (180 months) and a 9.335% APR would result in a monthly principal and interest payment of $135.68.
  4. The 2% principal reduction is based on the total dollar amount of all disbursements made, excluding any amounts that are reduced, cancelled, or returned. To receive this principal reduction, it must be requested from the servicer, the student borrower must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher and proof of such graduation (e.g. copy of diploma, final transcript or letter on school letterhead) must be provided to the servicer. This reward is available once during the life of the loan, regardless of whether the student receives more than one degree.
  5. Earn an interest rate reduction for making automatic payments of principal and interest from a bank account (“auto pay discount”). Earn a 0.25% interest rate reduction when you auto pay from any bank account and an extra 0.25% interest rate reduction when you auto pay from a SunTrust Bank checking, savings, or money market account. The auto pay discount will continue until (1) automatic deduction of payments is stopped (including during any deferment or forbearance) or (2) three automatic deductions are returned for insufficient funds during the life of the loan. The extra 0.25% interest rate reduction when you auto pay from a SunTrust Bank account will be applied after the first automatic payment is successfully deducted and will be removed for the reasons stated above. In the event the auto pay discount is removed, the loan will accrue interest at the rate stated in your Credit Agreement. The auto pay discount is not available when payments are deferred or when the loan is in forbearance, even if payments are being made.
  6. A cosigner may be released from the loan upon request to the servicer provided that the student borrower is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien, has met credit criteria and met either one of the following payment conditions: (a) the first 36 consecutive monthly principal and interest payments have been made on-time (received by the servicer within 10 calendar days after their due date) or (b) the loan has not had any late payments and has been prepaid prior to the end of the first 36 months of scheduled principal and interest payments in an amount equal to the first 36 months of scheduled principal and interest payments (based on the monthly payment amount in effect when you make the most recent payment). As an example, if you have made 30 months of consecutive on-time payments, and then, based on the monthly payment amount in effect on the due date of your 31st consecutive monthly payment, you pay a lump sum equal to 6 months of payments, you will have satisfied the payment condition. Cosigner release may not be available if a loan is in forbearance.
  7. If the student dies after any part of the loan has been disbursed, and the loan has not been charged off due to non-payment or bankruptcy, then the outstanding balance will be forgiven if the servicer is informed of the student’s death and receives acceptable proof of death. If the student becomes totally and permanently disabled after any part of the loan has been disbursed and the loan has not been charged off due to non-payment or bankruptcy, the loan will be forgiven upon the servicer’s receipt and approval of a completed discharge application. If the student borrower dies or becomes totally and permanently disabled prior to the full disbursement of the loan, and the loan is forgiven, all future disbursements will be cancelled. Loan forgiveness for student death or disability is available at any point throughout the life of the loan.

6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see 


7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.

Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.

Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
If you are unable to pay your government loan, the government can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount. In addition, the government has special powers to collect the loan, such as taking your tax refund and applying it to your loan balance.

A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If you refinance your government loan, your new lender will use the proceeds of your new loan to pay off your government loan. Private student loan lenders do not have to honor any of the benefits that apply to government loans. Because your government loan will be gone after refinancing, you will lose any benefits that apply to that loan. If you are an active-duty service member, your new loan will not be eligible for service member benefits. Most importantly, once you refinance your government loan, you will not able to reinstate your government loan if you become dissatisfied with the terms of your private student loan.

If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you are a borrower with a secure job, emergency savings, strong credit and are unlikely to need any of the options available to distressed borrowers of government loans, a refinance of your government loans into a private student loan may be attractive to you. You should consider the costs and benefits of refinancing carefully before you refinance.

If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.

Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.


8 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Student Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of May 1, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.48%. Variable interest rates range from 4.45%-12.42% (4.45% – 12.32% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Fixed interest rates range from 5.25%-12.19% (5.25% – 12.09% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Lowest rates shown requires application with a co-signer, are for eligible applicants, require a 5-year repayment term, borrower making scheduled payments while in school and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of the loan. 
  2. Citizens Bank Student Loan Eligibility: Borrowers must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program at an eligible institution. Borrowers must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or an international borrower/eligible non-citizen with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. For borrowers who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer is required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Citizens Bank private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, and if applicable, self-certification form, school certification of the loan amount, and student’s enrollment at a Citizens Bank- participating school.  
  3. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply. Borrowers whose loans were funded prior to reaching the age of majority may not be eligible for co-signer release. Note: co-signer release is not available on the Student Loan for Parents or Education Refinance Loan for Parents.
3.99%
11.32%
2
Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit College Ave

4.50% – 11.35%*,3Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SallieMae

4.84%
13.49%
4
Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Discover

4.25% – 11.30%5Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SunTrust

4.50% – 9.47%6Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit LendKey

3.74%
9.72%
7
Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit CommonBond

4.45%
12.32%
8
Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

 

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