COLORADO SPRINGS — If you're a military family who struggles with student loan debt, you're not alone. Hundreds of thousands of service members, veterans, and their families are paying off student loans.
Even with their military education benefits, one-quarter of veterans have federal student loan debt when they graduate, according to the National Military Family Association. The Hunt Heroes Foundation is a non-profit organization that's awarding $40,000 in scholarship grants to military dependents who want to further their education.
Keri Spitler, is one of only 15 students selected to be the recipient of the third annual Hunt Heroes Foundation Scholarship. Keri's dad is a Coast Guard service member. She will be attending CU-Boulder with a major in biomedical engineering, with a pre-med track. This young lady has had an interesting life. Because her dad is in the coast guard, she attended three high schools, she's lived in several states including Colorado, and her parents may move again as she enters her Sophomore year.
"Boulder itself is so expensive and then I have to think about how to pay for med school after that," said Spitler. "College students are really stressed about financial aid, on top of just trying to live day-to-day," she explained.
Keri wants to be an orthopedic surgeon and wants to go to med school after her time in Boulder. She says the scholarship will help pay for that.
"When I get to med school my parents aren't going to be paying for me anymore so helping pay for all of that and making me less stressed about the financial part is awesome," she said.
This year's scholarship applicant pool increased by 25 percent compared to last year. Applicants have to submit an essay and do some community service, as well as demonstrate leadership in school and community.
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