UNI alumna RaeAnne Mason didn’t want to be a statistic. Scholarship support secured her future.
Mason grew up in an abusive home with parents who were in and out of jail. She knew college was the way to better her life. She just needed help.
“In order to get out of the situation I was handed, I needed a scholarship,” said Mason. “I truly believe that education is the only way to freedom, and if I wanted to be shaken from the grip of teen pregnancy, pre-adolescent alcohol abuse, drug addiction, and a life of low-income government assistance I needed an education. “
Mason, who graduated in December 2014 after majoring in Social Science Teaching, earned scholarship support and didn’t waste her opportunity. She scheduled 18-24 credit hours per semester to take full advantage of the gift from generous alumni and friends of the University of Northern Iowa.
Mason’s hard work, combined with scholarship support, allowed her to leave UNI without any student loans. The average student loan debt for Iowa students is nearly $30,000, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.
“I have worked and worked and worked my entire life to make it to college and as soon as I was able to I knew I needed to apply for as many scholarships as possible. Without scholarships I would probably only have been able to be in school part-time. Scholarships not only made it possible for me to attend college, but it helped me experience college the way it is supposed to be experienced.”
The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native has helped others in a similar situation as her by volunteering at Angel Tree/ Lake View Camps and Conference Center and for the Children of Promise Mentoring group. Both help mentor students with parents who are incarcerated.
Mason hopes to continue to help children and one day be a high school counselor. You can help other students, like RaeAnne, make their dreams come true by providing scholarship support to the University of Northern Iowa. To learn more, please visit www.uni-foundation.org.