Student loan debt is a huge problem in our country, and it seems to be worsening. So paying off debt, in particular student loans is major accomplishment — just ask 31-year-old Maritza Huerta. The Latina and Founder and CEO of The Twins PR paid off a $20,000 student loan debt in just five years. This incredible achievement, that takes a lot of hard work, was a moment that not only had to be captured but had to be shared with the two people that supported her every step of the way.
In a hilarious and heartwarming unveiling, Maritza surprised her parents — in bed! — to tell them that she had paid off her student loans and filmed the entire thing.
This moment is so touching and sweet! It’s also a reminder that while we celebrate other huge milestones like birthdays, anniversaries and baby announcements, paying off any kind of loan should also be celebrated.
Because there’s so many struggling to pay off student loans, in an interview with HipLatina, Maritza told us exactly how she did it and advice on how to get over this tremendous hurdle.
HL: How much did you owe exactly?
“I paid approximately $20,000 in school loans, including interest.”
“I took out my first school loan in 2004. I started paying off my loans in 2012, after finishing my master’s program in public relations and corporate communications at Georgetown University.”
“I transferred undergraduate schools a lot. In high school I felt pressure to attend a top, big name school. I went to a UC school, then a private school, and even sprinkled in a few classes at junior colleges to make up for credits that didn’t transfer. I was paying high tuition fees and not getting much closer to graduation. I finally decided that the best move was to attend California State University. Fullerton. It has one of the top communications programs in California and was a lot more affordable than a UC or private school.My advice is to select a school based on the program, not the university’s name or prestige. Secondly, I recommend using the advice my mom gave me: Pay more than the minimum payment, even if it’s just a few dollars extra. Sometimes I was able to pay $50 more and other times $500 more. It all helps chip away at finally saying goodbye to Sallie Mae.”
My parents owned an auto detail company in Anaheim, CA for 35 years. My twin sister Maricela and I are the youngest of their ten children. So when we finished undergraduate school, my parents were finally able to retire.I wanted to attend Chapman University, a prestigious private school with predominantly white students. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to afford tuition. After leaving the financial aid office on campus, my dad told me, ‘If you want to go to this school, it doesn’t matter how many cars I have to wash. I’ll wash them.’What makes me even more proud, is to be able to finish paying off my school loans a year after launching a public relations firm, The Twins PR, with my twin sister. We’re living out the American dream that my parents always wanted for us and showing them how grateful we are for all the sacrifices they made for our family.”