PROGRAMS | Student Success Profiles

Listen to people around you, but believe in yourself. You can do it.
– Tatiana Neblett, Florida Atlantic University Graduate

Tatiana Neblett

During her sophomore year of high school, Tatiana learned about dual enrollment from a woman at her bank who was kind enough to explain the process. The very next day Tatiana went to school and signed up for the program. Her guidance counselor quelled her fears about not being able to afford going to college and instilled a will within Tatiana to keep searching for more opportunities. When Tatiana got accepted to her dream university, her guidance counselor was the very first person to find out. With the help of her mentors, Tatiana went to college without the burden of debt and with gratitude that her family did not have to worry about paying for her tuition.

Tatiana says she took finance training in high school, but it was the training provided by Earn to Learn FL that helped her realize all the elements that go into a credit score and that a little debt is actually good for your score as long as you are responsible with it. Now, as an AmeriCorps member, Tatiana is thankful for the opportunity to help students see that they, too, can pursue a college degree and have constant support along their journey through the Earn to Learn FL AmeriCorps program.

Stephen Rivera

Stephen considers himself lucky that he has had a number of people who fit the role of mentor to him. But his mother was the one who gave him wise advice about choosing his major and taking his finances seriously. In fact, she was the one who told Stephen about Earn to Learn FL!

Of all the benefits Earn to Learn FL provided him, graduating debt free was most important to Stephen. He believes having to pay back student loans over years and years would have been very hard to handle, especially when all he really wants is to be able to earn money for his family, for emergencies, for retirement and for life in general.

ETL has helped me learn to save and helped me with deadlines. I wouldn’t be able to live on campus if it wasn’t for Earn to Learn financial assistance – Stephen Rivera. Florida Gulf Coast University

Angelo Serrano

When Angelo was younger, he says college wasn’t even in the equation for him. But programs like Earn to Learn gave him an eye-opening view of his future. Angelo had always felt like an introvert as the “middle child” in his family. But Earn to Learn FL helped him realize that he was actually an extrovert. Now, as a Marketing major, Angelo is able to explore his creativity through different classes, activities and other pursuits.

He credits Earn to Learn FL for teaching him so much about budgeting and focusing on the things that are important. Angelo is proud to have meaningful employment and report that he regularly saves 10-20% of every paycheck now!

Earn to Learn and other mentors inspired me to achieve more and see that the limit of my achievement is truly infinite.
– Angelo Serrano, Florida Gulf Coast University

Edeline Davis

Edeline started going back and forth to school in 2013. She did not go constantly because of the cost. Prior to this program, she had been forced to stretch her money for college out over many years, including student loans over the first 3 years. Fortunately, she heard about Earn to Learn FL from a Collier County email, applied and got accepted.

Married with two children, including a 3-year-old, Edeline began with Earn to Learn FL in her last year and has since graduated with a teaching degree. She says Earn to Learn FL not only helped her graduate, the program showed her and her husband how to save enough to purchase their first home before she even started working as a teacher this year!

Manage your time wisely, follow your dreams, and do what makes you happy.
– Edeline Davis, Hodges University

Litzy Lerma

Before she was accepted into Earn to Learn FL and took her first Financial Literacy class, Litzy admits she would splurge and spend money. Today, she is proud to say she thinks a lot about saving. She knows paying yourself first by saving and also putting aside enough for bills are critical steps in managing her money.

For Litzy, though, knowing she can graduate debt free is what she appreciates most. She says Earn to Learn FL has helped her avoid the stress of having to pay back student loans after she starts working, so she can look forward to buying a house and investing for her future.

I want to be the role model to my siblings to show having an education and meeting your goals are important parts of life. I want to inspire them so they can pursue their life interests and make a better world both for themselves and the generations that follow us.
– Litzy Lerma, Florida Gulf Coast University

Mateo Mateo

Before college, Mateo admits he wasn’t as open-minded about things, and that his environment created barriers. Today he is happy to report that he is much more focused on his future, partially because his spending habits have changed. With Earn to Learn FL, he learned that he didn’t have to buy things he really didn’t really need, because those little things really add up. He is proud to see how far he has come, and he realizes that thinking long-term is not just a good philosophy for money but for life as well.

Mateo says Earn to Learn FL has really eased his mind, because when he graduates, he can more confidently take care of himself and his family. He says not having to worry about paying back student loans means a lot to him and speaks to the work Earn to Learn FL is doing to help students just like him.

I want to reinvest back into this organization to help others. Earn to Learn is one of those important opportunities that doesn’t come along every day, and it provides the resources to help you get where you want to go.
– Mateo Mateo, University of Missouri