Student loan debt has become a nationwide epidemic, with graduates in the legal field being among those hardest hit. Many Ivy Tech students, however, are completing degrees without any debt—including December Paralegal Studies graduate Grace Gilbert.
Grace, who will earn an associate degree this month, worked hard to pay her tuition while still in college. However, she says Ivy Tech helped make it possible—and she encourages other prospective college students to make the same decision.
“I chose Ivy Tech because I wanted something close to home and affordable,” Grace says. “Attending Ivy Tech allows you to save money and the education is equal to any high-dollar school.”
Grace chose the Paralegal Studies program because of the wide variety of career opportunities it provides. In addition, it provides a significant return on investment, with a median paralegal salary in Indiana of more than $20 per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For now, Grace plans to stay with her current full-time employer, in part because they offer the flexibility to fit college into her busy schedule. However, in the future, she hopes to acquire a certification recognized by the state and then consider new opportunities. Regardless of what path she takes, Grace is committed to staying in touch with Ivy Tech’s Paralegal Studies faculty, whom she credits with keeping students aware of job openings and career fairs.
In addition to graduating debt free, Grace is proud to be the first in her family to complete a college degree—and equally as proud to have found a second “family” at Ivy Tech.
“I overcame many fears and challenges because most of my classes are smaller, which helps you bond with classmates and feel comfortable,” she says. “I am very blessed to have found Ivy Tech!”