Everyone thought I was crazy.
My senior year in high school, I learned about Elon University, and how it had everything I was looking for in my college experience. Well, everything except the price tag. As a private institution, it cost about $35,000 more each year than the $5,000 my family was able to contribute to my tuition.
I called my uncle to talk about his opinion on what I should do. He told me about how awful debt can be, and how having debt after I graduate could interfere with my goals and plans. After that call, when I was about to go to sleep, I had this crazy idea. I was going to go to Elon, and I would graduate debt-free.
That is where the crazy started.
I won’t lie, I was incredibly lucky to have family who supported me. My mom drove me to countless financial aid meetings (I had to pay car insurance myself and couldn’t afford it at the time, so I didn’t get my license until I was 18). I met an amazing woman who specializes in college funding, and she was willing to mentor me and gave me the knowledge to succeed. My family and friends were there for me when I would have emotional breakdowns about how Elon would never happen for me.
But it did happen.
Looking back, I almost can’t believe it. After countless financial aid negotiations and scholarship applications and stress, I earned over $105,000 in scholarships and aid, and I will have paid off the one subsidized loan I have before my 21st birthday. I have learned so much about FAFSA and how to maximize financial aid and minimize college costs, and I want to share that knowledge with you.
I’ve already spoken to multiple Elon classes and friends about how to maximize aid. I will talk your ear off about financial aid applications and the best places to find scholarships. I’d love to use this blog to share what I’ve learned, and hopefully help other people.
If you ever have a question you want me to address in a post, send it to me on my Contact Page. I love answering questions, and I’d really love to answer yours.
Thank you for reading, and welcome to my Student Saver blog!
Hi, I'm Riley! I graduated from college in December 2016, after working to earn over $100,000 in scholarships and aid.