Local students awarded ‘Free to Dream’ from LRAP Foundation

HUNTINGTON, Ind. Fear over cost of college and rising student debt is deterring many from attending their first-choice college, but some Indiana students are getting a little help to make their academic and career dreams come true.

LRAP Foundation will be awarding two high-school students from Northern Indiana with the LRAP Free to Dream Award, promising that, if their income after college graduation is low, they will receive help repaying their loans. The two recipients of the award are Zach Shumaker (from LaOtto, Ind., and Lakewood Park Christian School), who will be attending Purdue University, and Bethany Foley (from Howe, Ind., and Prairie Heights High School), who will be attending Richmond: The American International University in London.

The award ceremony will take place at Huntington University, where the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) is offered to all incoming freshmen.

"In this tough economy, we want to remove the fear of debt from all students," said Jeff Berggren, senior vice president for enrollment management and marketing. "We want students and families to know that a high-quality, Christ-centered education might be much more affordable than they had previously thought."

LRAP is an idea that originated in law schools, to help public service-oriented students repay their loans. The idea is now being used to help students attend their first-choice college, without fear of loan repayment after graduation.

"We are passionate about the life-changing power of higher education," Peter Samuelson, President of LRAP Foundation said. "We live in a society that is powered by an educated work-force. We want to help ease the burden of student loan repayment, help graduates pursue their callings, and empower the next-generation of leaders."

Samuelson is the founder and president of LRAP Foundation. He attended Yale Law School, where their LRAP program helped him pursue international service after graduation, ultimately inspiring him to help shape the future affordability of higher education.

Huntington University has offering the LRAP to students for five years, and was the first in the country to offer the program to all incoming freshmen.