Paying for college profile: Delissa Hernandez
When Delissa Hernandez enrolled at Augsburg College in 2010, she was the first in her family to do so. “I knew that if I didn’t go to college, I wouldn’t have much of a future,” she said.
Her family couldn’t help finance her education, but with her mom’s encouragement, she was determined to do whatever it took. She applied to Augsburg at the suggestion of a coordinator of a college-ready program at her high school.
“I had planned to go to a community college, but I took the chance and applied to Augsburg and was accepted right away,” she said.
Hernandez’ financial aid package included a Minnesota State Grant, a Pell Grant, and TRIO and ALAS (Augsburg Latin American Students) scholarships. She helped pay by working as a tour guide and tech desk assistant at Augsburg — and as a paid intern at the Federal Reserve Bank. But she would not have been able to continue at Augsburg without more aid. She covered the balance with federal loans.
Hernandez said she especially appreciated receiving the TRIO scholarship in her junior and senior years. Provided by Augsburg to support students enrolled in a federally funded TRIO program, the scholarship was accompanied by some intensive education about personal finances, including debt re-payment.
Hernandez will have about $28,000 in debt after graduation. “Although my mom was not able to help me out financially, I am glad she was able to help me cope with stress that would come with borrowing loans.” she said. (72% of students at our colleges graduate with some debt; the median amount for these students is $27,940.)
Although she expects it will take several years to pay off her loans, she says it’s worth it. Hernandez has a few credits to complete and will graduate in Dec. 2014. She already has a job working at the Federal Reserve as an accountant and is now considering pursuing an MBA and CPA.
“I would tell other students to not let cost be your only factor,” Hernandez said. “I was able to get lots of financial aid since I was a first-generation student, but I had to work hard. Looking at my costs compared to friends who went to a community college, I think I had the better deal.”
“If I had to do it all over again, I would. Now I’ll know that I’ll be able to provide a better life for myself and my daughter. Even though I haven’t fully graduated yet, I already see how worth it this investment truly is.”