Meet the Winners of the Spring 2017 Student Loan Hero Scholarship

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Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

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 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 2019!
LenderVariable APREligibility 
* 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.
** Discover's lowest rates shown are for the undergraduate loan and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.

1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

  1. Rates include 0.25% Auto Pay Discount
  2. Explanation of Rates “With Autopay” (APD)
    Rates shown include 0.25% APR discount when client agrees to make monthly principal and interest payments by automatic electronic payment. Use of autopay is not required to receive an Earnest loan.

    Available Terms
    For Cosigned loans – 5, 7, 10, 12, 15 years. 
    Primary Only – 10, 12, 15 years

    In school deferred payment is not available in AL, AZ, CA, FL, MA, MD, MI, ND, NY, PA, and WA).


2 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.

3 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 a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. 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 7/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.


4 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.


5 Important Disclosures for Discover.

Discover Disclosures

  1. Students who get at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) qualify for a one-time cash reward on 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 Auto Reward Debit Reward Terms and Conditions at DiscoverStudentLoans.com/AutoDebitReward.
  3. Aggregate loan limits apply.
  4. Lowest rates shown ARE FOR THE UNDERGRADUATE LOAN AND include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest INTEREST RATE OFFERED ON THE DISCOVER UNDERGRADUATE LOAN and highest interest rates offered on Discover student loans, including Undergraduate, Graduate, Health Professions, Law and MBA Loans. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable Margin percentage. The margin is based on your credit evaluation at the time of application and does not change. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 2.50% as of July 1, 2019. Discover Student Loans will adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Please visit https://www.discover.com/student-loans/interest-rates.html for more information about interest rates.
3.99% – 11.44%1Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Earnest

3.98% – 11.35%*,2Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SallieMae

3.96%
11.98%
3
Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit College Ave

3.66% – 9.64%4Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit CommonBond

3.87%
11.87%
**,5
Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Discover

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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