Students recognized with Free to Dream award at banquet

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

LRAP Foundation held an award ceremony for two high-achieving college-bound students in Northern Indiana, to award them with the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) Free to Dream Award. The award promises that, "if your income after graduation is low, you will receive help repaying your student loans," thereby empowering students to attend their first-choice college, and pursue their passions after graduation.

As one of the Free to Dream Award recipients commented, "Being able to attend my first-choice college always seemed out of reach. I never thought it would be financially possible. Now that I have LRAP, I am so grateful that I can turn that dream into a reality."

The award ceremony was held at Huntington University on April 30 where college administrators are taking proactive measures to protect their students' investment in a higher education. Since 2010, Huntington University has been the only college in Indiana to offer the LRAP award to all incoming students, thereby helping their students and graduates pursue their dreams. For more information about the program, please visit or

"Huntington graduates are already experiencing the benefits of making choices based on passion and mission, rather than just earning a specific salary to pay back student loans," said Jeff Berggren, senior vice president for enrollment management and marketing at Huntington University. "While other institutions are asking alumni to both pay back student loans and contribute to their university, Huntington graduates are receiving an ongoing contribution in the form of student loan repayment assistance."

One Huntington University graduate, having received LRAP assistance since 2012, shared her own experience with LRAP.

"If I had not been offered the LRAP, I would have had to withdraw from Huntington after my sophomore year. But I was able to enjoy another two years of college and graduate because of the assistance. I am so thankful for the program. LRAP has been providing tremendously for me."

LRAP is an idea that originated in law schools, to help public service-oriented students repay their loans, without having to choose a job based on income alone. The idea has since been adapted to help students attend their first-choice colleges, while preventing fear of debt from compromising their ambitions and aspirations.

"We designed LRAP to help students pursue their dreams," 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."

Peter Samuelson is the founder and president of LRAP Foundation. He attended Yale Law School, where their LRAP program helped him pursue international service work after graduation.

Recipients of the Free to Dream LRAP Award include Zach Shumaker (from LaOtto, IN and Lakewood Park Christian School), who will be attending Purdue University, and Bethany Foley (from Howe, IN and Prairie Heights High School), who will be attending John Brown University.