Student Loan Safety-net Helps Grad’s Dreams Come True
At 14, Brianna Loomis knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. Movies and books had inspired her to go into publishing, but this big dream had a bigger question mark. How to pay for college?
She knew she would need to borrow student loans. Her parents made too much money to qualify for financial aid, but not enough to pay for her tuition. As her senior year of high school approached, Brianna was set on going to a state school until friends and family began encouraging her to check out smaller institutions.
That is when she stumbled across and fell in love with a small private institution in Michigan. While researching it, she found some articles about their Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP).
“Intrigued, I read every article, blurb, and small print that mentioned the program, and for the first time since I had realized I was going to have to take out loans, I had hope for my future – for my dream,” Brianna said.
LRAPs are a student loan safety-net that help graduates with modest incomes repay their federal student, parent PLUS and private alternative loans. Full of hope for her future, Brianna enrolled.
“Knowing I would have help paying off my loans after graduation motivated me to keep going,” Brianna said. “Every late night in the library, long day in class, numerous hours researching internships – it was all worth it because I knew I was going to be OK after graduation. I would achieve my dream without crippling debt.”
After Brianna graduated, she accepted a position as a copy editor for a small nonprofit in Colorado and emailed Ardeo’s student service team.
“I wanted to double-check that I qualified for the program, and after I spoke to some of the friendliest, most helpful Ardeo team members, I acquired the information I needed. LRAP was going to help me pay my student loans.
“I remember receiving my first LRAP check in the mail. I cried. I laughed. I jumped up and down with joy! I was filled with extreme gratitude. While I had found a job in my field doing what I love, I owed more in bills every month than what I made. Making a little more than minimum wage while also trying to pay loans and monthly bills seemed nearly impossible. You know what did make it possible, though? The LRAP check I received every three months.”
She still has that first LRAP check thanks to mobile depositing and every time she rediscovers it, she is filled with “instant thankfulness and joy.”
Today, Brianna is living her dream as an assistant editor at a publishing company in Nashville.
Want to read more about Brianna’s story? Check out her chapter in our new book, free to higher ed professionals.