Why We Do What We Do

These personal stories from students at Jesuit institutions throughout the country are representative of the success of federal student aid programs. Click below for select examples from a small group of schools. Each AJCU institution is proud to host hundreds of students receiving financial aid.

Success Stories

Jose Vazquez came to the United States from Cuba in 2001 through the U. S. visa lottery. He came with his mother, a single parent, who is now a nursing assistant in a small hospital in Hialeah, Florida. Jose was an honor student at Hialeh High School, and then studied at Miami Dade Community College through a specially designed program focused on especially promising young people to broaden their horizons and prepare them for highly ranked colleges and universities. After earning a 4.0 at Miami Dade, Jose applied to transfer to Georgetown and major in government. He has a financial aid package that includes the maximum Pell Grant and Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, as well as a Federal Work Study job as a translator at Georgetown University Hospital. He also receives a sizable Georgetown scholarship plus Stafford and Perkins Loans. Jose has a 3.5 GPA and will be graduating in December, 2011. Jose’s plan is to pursue a law degree and, ultimately, serve as a judge.

Cody Ling grew up in Chatham, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, a destination many of us know as a popular vacation destination. Raised in the midst of a difficult divorce, Cody focused his energies on academics and activities outside of his home. He enjoyed substantial success and even, having started two businesses, became the youngest member of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce. He found out early on the importance of financial aid in pursuing his academic dreams; he was fortunate to be admitted to the prestigious Exeter Academy for high school with his education fully covered. When he was admitted to Georgetown, again, financial aid made it possible for him to accept the offer of admission. He has received not only a very generous Georgetown Scholarship, but nearly $42,000 in federal funds (Federal Pell, Federal SEOG, Federal Academic Competitiveness Grant, Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan), and nearly $2,000 in state funds (MassGrant) over his four years at Georgetown. “While my aggregate financial aid is much larger when you include university aid,” he says, “it’s around the margins that make a difference. There’s no way I would be able to attend the caliber of institution that I do without the federal aid programs. It gives me hope for future generations that anyone can come from humble beginnings and still achieve greatness in our society.” Cody will be the first in his family to graduate college this May from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University where he majored in Finance & Management, Leadership, and Innovation, focused on Strategy & Entrepreneurship, and is expected to graduate Cum Laude. Cody is exploring careers in finance and consulting but says his true passion is to start up his third business in mobile phone application programming. Cody is also working to create a website to guide students through the financial aid process given its complexities. “I’ve worked very hard and have had a lot of help along the way. Without the financial aid I’ve been fortunate to receive, I would not be where I am today.”

Kelsey Hendricks is a junior at Georgetown University majoring in American Studies. Her life began in an affluent Texas suburb, but in 2001 Kelsey’s father lost his job. He bounced from job to job, which took a toll on everything including her parents’ marriage ending in divorce in 2003. After filing for bankruptcy, her mother moved to Louisville, Kentucky, with Kelsey and her sister. Fortunately, their grandfather was able to help them with housing which was essential on her mother’s $15,000 salary as an assistant librarian at the school Kelsey attended. As Kelsey started thinking about college – something that was seen as a given in her life several years before, it felt more like a distant dream than something that was possible. But Kelsey had done well in school achieving above a 4.0 GPA on top of numerous extracurricular activities including serving as president of both the Beta Club and SADD, so she went ahead and applied, thinking that it wouldn’t be possible. Fortunately, thanks to her Pell Grant, Federal Work Study job in the Undergraduate Admissions Office, a Stafford Loan and a sizable Georgetown Scholarship, her dream, that she thought was dashed because of the 180° turn in her life, is on track. After she graduates next year, her plan is to attend law school and hopefully go into non-profit law.