Stronger than Before
When Allison Wilinksi graduated from the Penn State World Campus in 2020 with a degree in labor and employment relations, she became the first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree.
“My college experience was tough,” she said. “However, with the generous help of my parents and working part-time jobs, I made it through college and paid off some of my debt in the process.”
The primary hurdle Wilinski faced on the path to a college degree, she explained, was finances—not only finding the money to attend college, but also navigating the financial aid process itself.
“My family had no clue how to go about getting loans or paying them off,” she explained.
Wilinksi ultimately paid for college through a combination of loans, support from her parents, and money she earned from working part-time jobs through high school and college. To save money while she was a student, Wilinski lived at home with her parents and two younger siblings in Tyrone, Pa. While she still carries significant educational debt, she was able to pay off some of her loans as a student.
Wilinksi also received a grant from the Complete Penn State program, which is designed to help students in their final one or two semesters to reach the graduation finish line.
Having now graduated, Wilinski said that she hopes to secure a position in human resources. While attending college required Wilinski to make sacrifices, she said that in the end the experience has been worth it.
“I feel like having a Penn State degree and the prestige and connections that come with this make it all worth it in the end. I am very proud of my accomplishment because I struggled through my college experience but made it out stronger than ever before.”