Student Loan Hero is thrilled to announce the recipients of our scholarships for the Spring 2017 semester.
All of these students have demonstrated incredible resilience in their pursuit of education. We’re excited to award a total of $4,000 in scholarship money to help alleviate their educational costs.
After careful review of hundreds of essay submissions, our financial experts selected two finalists and four semi-finalists. Finalists received $1,000 each, while semi-finalists earned runner-up prizes of $500 each.
These students inspire all of us here at Student Loan Hero with their determination and commitment. We hope this scholarship money helps ease the burden of tuition and related costs.
Student Loan Hero will grant more awards for the Fall 2017 semester. And we invite any actively enrolled students to apply. This next round will be open from June 15 to August 15.
Check out the amazing life stories of our Spring 2017 scholarship winners.
Nice Loufoua, Northwest Nazarene University
Top prize: $1,000
Nice Loufoua is a social work major as well as track and field athlete in her sophomore year at Northwest Nazarene University. As a first generation college student, Nice says, “sometimes the pressure to be successful can be extremely overwhelming, but I am very thankful for how far I have gotten on my academic journey.”
Born in Brazzaville, Congo, Nice and her family came to the U.S. nine years ago through the World Relief program. By the age of 10, Nice had lived in three countries and countless cities. When her family finally settled in the U.S., they had no friends or family to help them adjust. And, they couldn’t speak the language.
Over time, Nice says, “Our English improved, we made new friends, became less reserved and afraid, and finally began fitting in.”
With her parents’ support, Nice became the first in her family to attend college. And she strives to provide a permanent home for her family after years of relocating.
“Someday, I will have a college degree, a well-paying job, and financial stability,” says Nice. “[These opportunities] will allow me to pay off my parents’ mortgage, giving them their very first home.”
Miriam Ramos Torres, The University of Texas at El Paso
Top prize: $1,000
Miriam Ramos Torres is a general business major with a concentration in international business. Since she lives with her parents in Juarez, Mexico, Miriam crosses the border everyday to get to the University of Texas at El Paso.
Paying for college, Miriam says, “has been tougher and tougher on my parents each year since the peso has been devalued.” Although she and her two siblings have lived with financial instability their entire lives, Miriam has not let the challenge discourage her.
Instead, Miriam says she “gained the perseverance to overcome financial adversities in order to help my parents and myself out of debt and get ourselves into financial stability.”
With a college degree, she strives to help her parents pay for her brother’s education. Her financial struggles, Miriam says, “have helped me become more patient, persistent, and has taught me to value everything that we receive.”
Tarrin Joslin, Johns Hopkins University School of Education
Runner-up prize: $500
Tarrin Joslin is working toward her master’s degree in education at Johns Hopkins University School of Education. Tarrin has been teaching special education for two years and currently works in a high-needs elementary school outside of New Orleans.
“As a teacher in a Title I school district, I lack many of the resources that my students need in order to be successful,” Tarrin explains. This scholarship will allow her to “provide materials that [her] students so desperately need.”
It will be a step she adds, “toward ensuring that this wonderful group of students from a low-income, inner-city area has a teacher who is highly qualified and a learning environment that is equipped to meet their needs.”
Tarrin works to close the achievement gap in low-performing schools. She also finds time to volunteer at animal shelters and community outreach programs for children with disabilities.
Joseph Augustin, University of Maryland
Runner up prize: $500
Joseph Augustin took on financial responsibility for his family at the young age of 18. As a freshman in college, he worked as a security guard and lived off-campus so he would have money to send home to Haiti.
Given his financial situation, Joseph decided to join the ROTC program.
“It was perhaps one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life,” Joseph reflects. What’s more, he says the Army taught him “leadership skills and motivated me every day to serve my country and family.”
While his college years were difficult, Joseph says they taught him many life lessons. Essentially, he learned how to balance a budget and live within his means. Joseph is now studying for his master’s degree in cybersecurity technology at the University Of Maryland.
Erica Contreras, University of South Florida
Runner-up prize: $500
Erica Contreras is the first of her seven siblings to go to college. She’s a junior at the University of South Florida, where she studies elementary education.
Erica’s family immigrated to the U.S. with “no money, no job, and no place to live.” Growing up, they migrated from state to state following the harvest.
Eventually, Erica began working in the fields herself at only 10 years old. There were some nights, she says, where her family didn’t have enough money for food.
Erica continues to work while going to school. She sends her income home to help her family. And she works hard to “become an educator and motivate students that have dealt with the same upbringing I’ve had to continue their education.”
Despite her hardships, Erica says, “my motivation and dedication are at their highest.”
Alejandro Velez, The University of Texas at El Paso
Runner-up prize: $500
Alejandro Velez double majors in economics and finance and minors in computer science at the University of Texas at El Paso. He plans to go to law school after graduating.
Ultimately, Alejandro says he’s passionate about helping others through community service.
“One of the reasons I help most people is not because I have too much; it is because I know how it feels to have nothing,” Alejandro explains. In fact, he and his family escaped the drug war in Juarez, Mexico and moved to El Paso, Texas.
Then in 2015, Alejandro’s younger brother was diagnosed with leukemia. He has had two critical operations and continues to have weekly chemotherapy treatments. When he’s not helping his brother, Alejandro is volunteering with children diagnosed with cancer in his community.
He is also the Recruiter Coordinator for a community service group called Apanical. The group collects donations and sells them to a company in Mexico. The proceeds help families pay for expensive medical treatment.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2018!
|1 Important Disclosures for CollegeAve.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or Nationwide Bank, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
2 Important Disclosures for Discover.
3 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB) or Turnstile Capital Management, LLC (TCM), which are not affiliated entities. Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. All loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Other terms and conditions apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of TCM and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
* 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.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for PNC.
PNC Bank is one of the nation’s largest education loan providers. For over 40 years, PNC has been committed to helping students and their families make possible the adventure of college.
6 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
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.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2018 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
7 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
8 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
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.
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 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 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.
9 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|3.69% – 10.94%1||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents||Visit CollegeAve|
|3.99% – 12.99%2||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit Discover|
|3.82% – 12.82%3||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit Ascent|
|4.12% – 10.98%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit SallieMae|
|5.03% – 11.23%5||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit PNC|
|3.88% – 12.88%6||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit SunTrust|
|4.68% – 9.77%7||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit LendKey|
|3.72% – 9.68%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents||Visit CommonBond|
|4.04% – 12.01%9||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents||Visit Citizens|