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Published December 07, 2018

We all need somebody to lean on. That’s why Laurel Road partnered with Scholarship America to help others on their quest to finance their college education. By sharing their stories of gratitude, graduates who benefited from the generosity of others got the opportunity to help a college student finance their education. Here are some of the stories that inspired us…

“I aspired to become a pharmacist at a young age but did not grow up with parents financially able to help me make this dream possible, as my dad is incarcerated and my mother is left to care alone for myself and my two younger siblings.

My grandfather saw my passion and stepped in to pay for my undergraduate studies. I graduated with honors with a biochemistry degree and continued on to pharmacy school. I am paying off loans only from pharmacy school now refinanced with Laurel Road, which are so much more manageable since I did not have undergraduate loans on top of it all.

Dreams come true and I am grateful that my grandfather was able and willing to help me fulfill my passion!”

By: Andrea R.

“When it comes to helping pay for my college tuition, I am extremely grateful for my parents.  Both my Mom and Dad worked their 9am-5pms full time jobs, often staying late to accrue overtime, mainly to pay for my education.  They put myself and my education often before their needs and wants to allow that I had a bright and educational future.  They not only helped pay for my undergraduate career, but often help with my graduate school loans still to this day.

They are amazing and generous parents and I cannot thank them enough.  If my story and thank you can help another student in need who does not have this type of support, then I will feel amazing about this submission and also know there is still good in this world!  It is a shame how much school costs Americans and often even when we get out of college and land full time jobs, a huge chunk of our paychecks are going towards repaying loans, leaving us with minimal amounts to live off of.  I dream of a world where education is free (or at least affordable to all) and student loans are a thing of the past (sorry Laurel Road)!”

By: Olivia T.

“Although I may gripe at times about my student loan debt, I have to remember to be thankful to my family for contributing a significant amount (more than $80,000) towards my $140,000+ college tuition fees. Apparently, my Grandma (a fierce retired account who had long stashed away ample retirement funds) would give her Social Security check (among other funds) to my Dad to help pay off my college fees. That’s remarkable and unheard of for many American graduates! I am so fortunate that she loved me so much that she wanted me to do well in life by investing in my education.

My Grandma has always been a saver. As a retired CPA, she still takes time to read and keep each of her itemized receipts. She takes time to manage her and my Grandpa’s investments daily. Both of my grandparents do not indulge themselves in expensive luxuries. All painstaking choices and sacrifices to help their children and grandchildren thrive as college-educated adults.

My Grandma claims that her financial sacrifices have all been worth it. She even tells me personally (with a wry smile) that I’ve been a sound investment. Hefty student loans and 6 years later, I have graduated with a doctorate degree from a state school with a renowned reputation. Connections through my University helped me land my first job and my first opportunity to live like a real, hard-working adult and responsibly pay off my student loan debt, debt that has been significantly decreased thanks to my Grandparents, especially my financially-savvy Grandma.”

By: Nicolle R.

“I went to college at Stony Brook University in New York.  Although Stony Brook is a state school with reasonable tuition, especially compared to private schools with expenses in excess of $50,000 per year, I was an out of state student.  At $34,000 a year including room and board, there was no way I could pay for school myself – even with student loans, financial aid, scholarships, and working.  During college I was a Resident Assistant and worked some part time jobs on campus as well as full time retail ones during the summers.  With these jobs and through federal and private school loans, I paid for roughly half of my.  Thankfully, my parents and my grandmother were in a position to help cover the other half of the cost for my college education.  My grandmother started a college fund for me when I was born and between delving into their savings accounts and incurring debt of their own, my parents were able to come up with the money necessary for me to get my degree in Computer Engineering.  Without my family, I wouldn’t be able to be where I am today and wouldn’t have the life experiences a college environment provides.  Thanks, Mom, Dad, and Grandma!”

By: George R.

“Without the support and encouragement my mom, Rosanne, I would not have had the opportunity to attend college. Through the sacrifices she made supporting me during my life as a student, I was able to become an optometrist. Whether it was helping to cover my rent or my grocery bill, my mom was always there to support me, even when she was working overtime in a job she wasn’t particularly passionate about. The fact that she was supporting and nurturing her son made all the difference to her. This fact made her feel that her work was not in vain.

Unfortunately, some children and young adults do not receive the necessary encouragement or support to finish high school, let alone the front steps of college. Thanks to my amazing mom, I was able to receive the necessary support, both financially and emotionally, to obtain an associate’s degree in 2006, bachelor’s degree in 2009 and a doctor of optometry degree in 2015.

After making it through over a decade of college coursework, I highly support the notion of our country’s youth today striving for continued education and life-long learning. Without education, it will become increasingly difficult to obtain a fulfilling and meaningful career in today’s ever-changing world.”

By: Kevin C., OD

“I was fortunate enough to have my parents help pay for all 4 years of my undergraduate degree, which saved me tens of thousands of dollars in the end. I decided to go to a state school and transferred after freshman year from a private school so that they wouldn’t have to pay as much money as they would have at a private university. When I enrolled in undergrad, I wasn’t entirely sure which career or major I would choose, and somehow wound up in pre-med despite never being interested in science or medicine. In addition to paying for tuition, my parents also paid for room and board, all of my books and supplies, computers, car, cell phone, prep courses, application fees for medical school, interviews, etc. All of the hidden costs of obtaining a career add up to very significant amounts of money, which I don’t think people realize as they go through their education. I certainly took those things for granted at the time, and eventually came to understand that in order to succeed at school or work in today’s society, it’s a necessity to have access to a computer, internet, a cell phone, and a car. Yet, in order to have all of those things, a person has to already come from a medium to high socioeconomic background, and if they don’t, it becomes much more difficulty and near impossible to succeed in this environment. This means that in today’s society, upward socioeconomic mobility and attaining the “American Dream” so to speak, is much harder than it used to be. I am very fortunate to have been given the opportunities that I have and also the tools needed to maximize those opportunities. However, I hope that companies like Laurel Road will give those less fortunate the same opportunities to succeed so that everyone can have a fair chance at attaining the “American Dream”.

By: Jenny B.

“I was fortunate enough to have my parents help pay for all 4 years of my undergraduate degree, which saved me tens of thousands of dollars in the end. I decided to go to a state school and transferred after freshman year from a private school so that they wouldn’t have to pay as much money as they would have at a private university. When I enrolled in undergrad, I wasn’t entirely sure which career or major I would choose, and somehow wound up in pre-med despite never being interested in science or medicine. In addition to paying for tuition, my parents also paid for room and board, all of my books and supplies, computers, car, cell phone, prep courses, application fees for medical school, interviews, etc. All of the hidden costs of obtaining a career add up to very significant amounts of money, which I don’t think people realize as they go through their education. I certainly took those things for granted at the time, and eventually came to understand that in order to succeed at school or work in today’s society, it’s a necessity to have access to a computer, internet, a cell phone, and a car. Yet, in order to have all of those things, a person has to already come from a medium to high socioeconomic background, and if they don’t, it becomes much more difficulty and near impossible to succeed in this environment. This means that in today’s society, upward socioeconomic mobility and attaining the “American Dream” so to speak, is much harder than it used to be. I am very fortunate to have been given the opportunities that I have and also the tools needed to maximize those opportunities. However, I hope that companies like Laurel Road will give those less fortunate the same opportunities to succeed so that everyone can have a fair chance at attaining the “American Dream”.”

By: Everett E S.

“I will forever be eternally gratefully for Dr. Ruben Brigety. I met Dr. Brigety back in 2004 after graduating from high school. At this time, I had chosen to take a year off before attending college. I attended an HBCU event where I was sat at a table of distinguished guests unbeknownst to me. Dr. Brigety was sitting beside me and we were having a good conversation about school and my aspirations. I felt very inspired and motivated through our conversation that went on through most of the event. Before I knew it, Dr. Brigety gets up to announce the scholarship (which was named after his mother who was friends with Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune) and names me as the first recipient. Receiving this scholarship allowed to me begin the journey of manifesting my dream of becoming a doctor. It’s one thing when someone hears your dream but it’s a whole other thing when someone wants to help you make that dream a reality. I did not know Dr. Brigety at all before this event. He was just a man sitting at my table with casual conversation about school. Dr. Brigety gave me an opportunity to pursue my dream by reducing my financial obligations. I’m blessed to have been seated at the table among one of God’s angels. I pray that I will be able to give others the chance that was given to me.”

By: Myschelle J.

About Scholarship America
Scholarship America believes that every student deserves an opportunity to go to college, regardless of their financial status. As the nation’s largest private education support organization, having distributed over $4 billion to more than 2.4 million students, they have worked directly with students, parentsdonorscollegesbusinesses and communities to empower people to achieve their educational goals, helping to improve lives and create economic prosperity for both individuals and society.

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