Sarah L. Won Our First $500 Dollarship Award!

She entered our Pre-Launch Giveaway and was the lucky winner to win $500 towards her student debt!


A little bit more about Sarah

Current City, State:

Seattle, WA

University Attended:

Worcester State University – Undergrad & Bentley University - Grad

Type of Degree:


How much student debt do you currently have?

Around 70k

Monthly payment amount?

About $500

How do you feel about being a Dollarship Award winner?

I’m really excited! Being the first winner is an honor!

What does this win mean for you?

The win means a lot more than $500, because it is actually more like $950! $500 after 15 years at 6% interest would be $950. While $500 at first glance might only seem like a drop in the bucket of my 70k loan, it will allow me to accumulate less interest. That’s two months of loan payments!

What is your experience with student loans?

The government seems proud that they offer such economical plans with loan forgiveness, but they don’t take your private student loans into account when calculating what you owe. If I were to pay on the income driven plan alone, I would be paying $550 (ID) + $300 in private loan payments which is not at all sustainable. Due to this payment being too high, I had to get off the income driven payment plan and now do not qualify for loan forgiveness.

Overall, I would say that my experience with loans is them being sneaky. We say that there is a huge problem with loans and the way our systems are regulated, but they are still allowed to manipulate people into paying more.

Funfact: When you begin paying your loans back, the payment is distributed evenly amongst each loan. i.e. you have 4 federal loans from 4 years with varying interest rates and your payment is $400. Each loan will receive $100. BUT did you know that you can call them and have them apply that entire $400 towards the loan with the highest interest rate first and once that loan is paid off, go to the next loan with the highest interest rate, etc.

What would you be doing if you didn’t have any student loans?

I would be where I am now, but I would be able to worry a lot less about keeping to a budget and hopefully buying a house, investing and saving for my future/retirement. Statistically here in Seattle, the average down payment is 100k. With loans, that makes buying a house something that I can’t even fathom. 

What was your favorite year of school and why?

My first year of grad school was my favorite year. While I met some great people/professors, many of whom I still talk to today, grad school was a game changer for me. It was the first time I was really interested in what I was doing and in a place where I felt like the people around me wanted to be there and had worked their entire college careers to get there. It was a place that being the best wasn’t an option, it was a requirement. I wasn’t learning just from classes either. Due to the program being full of international students, I was able to learn a lot about many different cultures that I had previously had never been very exposed to.

If money wasn’t an issue, what’s one thing you’d like to do?

As stated previously, I would love to buy a house here in Seattle. I would also love to purchase a home back in Massachusetts for when I eventually decide to move back home.


There are many more chances to win your very own Dollarship Award when we launch this Summer!

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