Paying it Forward

Advice for a debt-free journey

Taylor Hayes (’15) pays it forward by sharing tips on paying off student loans with college graduates

It is no secret that a college education is expensive nowadays. After graduating, it can be an intimidating and stressful feeling to know that you have a long road ahead to pay off your student loans.

Taylor Hayes (’15) paid off more than $60,000 in student loans over 4 1/2 years, and now she’s paying it forward by sharing her personal finance tips on an Instagram account with more than 18,000 followers.

“I want to share my story with college students to inspire them to get rid of their student loans as fast as possible,” Hayes said. “When I started making payments on my student loans, I had no idea that interest was accruing on them each day, and so for years, I only paid my minimum monthly payment.”

Hayes has created a Student Loan Guide, a 23-page resource that outlines how students can pay off their college debt. She empathizes with new and soon-to-be graduates who are stressed out about paying off their loans. And now, because of COVID-19, they face the added stress of trying to enter the workforce during a bleak economic period in American history.

“Job searching by itself isn’t easy, but when you add COVID-19 in the mix, job searching becomes a little bit more difficult,” she said. “My advice would be to keep applying on a consistent basis and reach out to your college career center for help if needed.”

It’s a freeing feeling to be able to live life without the burden of student loans. Having paid off $60,349.02 at a young age, Hayes considers it her calling to share her personal finance tips and tricks.

“I don’t believe college students (or people in general) are educated enough on how exactly student loans work and how they can seriously affect our finances, so I want to be someone who can show others the way, and show others that becoming debt-free is possible.” 

Next Story

Engaged Alumni

A fairy godmother on a mission

Latia Green Allen (’94)'s nonprofit organization, Dorm Fairies, assists new students and their families in affording dorm room essentials.