Witney Parker

2020 Recipient

Award $1,500

2020 has been quite the year, so you can only imagine how excited I was to receive an email informing me that I would be awarded money towards my current student loan balance. One of my greatest accomplishments is finishing grad school; however, the stress of having to pay the money back is undeniable. When I heard about the Student Debt Freedom Fund, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to possibly have part, if not all, of my student loans paid. 


Much of the student loan debt I currently have is due to my graduate program. My current student loan debt is at a little over $78,000. This includes interest that has compounded over the years and putting my loans in forbearance because I was not able to make payments at the time for various reasons. 


As a young professional, I never thought my main focus would be paying off student loan debt, but more focusing on buying a home, starting a business and planning for a family. With the amount of debt I am carrying, just in student loans, I am unable to achieve one of my biggest milestones and that’s homeownership. For the past several years I have been working to save money to go towards my future home. Unfortunately, with all the savings in the world, I understand no bank or loan company will ever finance me with such a high balance on my student loans. If I must be transparent, the thought of having to pay off such a large amount has caused great stress and anxiety for me. Also knowing that this debt will also be passed to my family and could potentially be a burden when I am trying to focus on being a provider.


This award has not only been surprising, but greatly appreciated; especially during a time when any good news is enough to lift your spirits. I am so thrilled about the Student Debt Freedom Fund and the work they will be doing in the future to support students and their education debt.

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