Nicole | 26 | Portland

Nicole talks about paying off her school loans if she were to win the lottery.

Photo credit: Cara Hopkins

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
I wouldn’t necessarily buy anything. I would definitely pay off all my school loans. That is definitely the first thing—I am very much in debt.

What are you studying?
Child and family studies now, but I did business before. And I went to the Art Institute—tried that for a bit.

How much student loan debt do you have?
It’s about $25,000 right now.

Were you somewhere else before the Art Institute?
Just community college down in Salem.

Did you have loans then?
No, because all my tuition was paid through grants, so it was nothing much to pay back, which was great. Not until I went to the Art Institute did I start accruing student loans.

And you didn’t like it?
Yeah, it just wasn’t for me. I was there for a semester and then I decided to go a different route.

Did you have to start paying off those loans before you started at Portland State?
I did, but then I started school again so they got deferred.

Were you surprised by how much the payments were when you had to start paying?
No, I kind of had an idea. I knew school was expensive and I knew the payback would be kind of expensive too, but I managed it.

How much longer do you have here?
I have a full year left.

What do you want to do after graduation?
Anything where I can work with kids and families. My passion is working with others, so whatever I can do in that aspect, I’ll be happy with.