CORE: How did you hear about the RISE program?
DANIELLE: I heard about the RISE program in high school from an educational coach. I am enrolled in a program called College Possible and it helped me throughout the college process, from practice S.A.T exams, applications, and the FASFA, to resumes and scholarships. This is how I found out about the RISE program.
CORE: What is something you’ve accomplished recently (personally or in your education) that you’re proud of?
DANIELLE: Something that I have accomplished recently is being able to study abroad. My freshman year, I attempted to go on a trip to Cuba, but I faced too many barriers. I also play two sports on campus, which do not allow me to travel during the fall. So, finding a little free time, I was finally able to visit Sicily and Malta. It’s like a dream come true. I have always wanted to study abroad as an educational goal, and to travel the world as a personal goal. Accomplishing both goals at once, while I am still in my prime, is a great feeling.
CORE: What is your plan of attack for completing the program?
DANIELLE: My plan of attack for completing the program is to continue making payments. I am excited now because I have a job on campus in which can help me save. I also plan to continue saving beyond the program.
CORE: What is something you learned from doing the financial literacy requirement of the program?
DANIELLE: While doing the financial literacy, I learned that I can track my loans free of charge. I thought that was interesting because I do not recall learning about that part of financial aid. It allows me to plan accordingly for the future and decide if I should look for more scholarships to apply to.
It’s a lot easier to accept loans than it is to pay them off or give the leftover money back. I also learned that making connections is better when you are a college student. For instance, the more people you know on campus, the likelier you are to gain free access to books and supplies. Also, I learned that there is a tax forgiveness for college students in many states, including Pennsylvania. Although it is tedious, you can get money back for college textbooks.
CORE: What is something that you hope to change about the world?
DANIELLE: Something I hope to change about the world is the connections people have with one another. I feel like in America, we often forget how privileged we are. We need to be reminded that it’s okay to be dependent on others. We have many resources – money, technology, and navigation, but as far as human contact, I feel that many people are selfish and looking for independence. In reality, it’s okay to need the help of others. It doesn’t make you less of a person, or man.