By the end of my collegiate career — from
undergraduate, a master’s and a PhD — I will have zero college debt. It’s actually a
wonderful feeling — it’s like a weight lifted off my chest. Out of pocket I’ve probably paid about a quarter of my education. The rest has
been either through scholarships, internships or through working through
the chemistry department. If you apply yourself and talk to your faculty, talk
to your departments there are plenty of opportunities out there. It’s a lot of
work to put in for all these scholarships. A hundred percent worth it to not have
this burden of debt kind of looming over your head. Sometimes, from a student
perspective, ‘Oh, it’s only $500.’ And in a parent’s mind that’s, ‘Oh, that’s textbooks for a semester.’ The smaller scholarships really add up —
that’s how I was able to afford all college was applying for a lot of
smaller scholarships. How many scholarships would you say
you’ve gotten? That I’ve gotten? Probably 10 or 11. It’s your future. I mean, when you,
I’ll tell students when you graduate do you want your first paycheck to go to
Sallie Mae or the bank or do you want your first paycheck to go to you? Some of my colleagues right now, their loan payments are 25-30 years from now, so
that’s basically a mortgage for a home that you’re now having to pay for. You’ll be looking back you know, 10 years from now and be thankful that you took this
opportunity to get all these scholarships that not very many people
are applying for. I mean, it’s basically, I don’t want to say “free money,” but it’s
money out there for opportunities for students who need the help and those
students need the help. With ECU, we have all of our scholarships on a
central portal. They go to their Pirate Port account, they log in to ECUAward,
they do a single application and they have access to over a thousand different