News Briefs

Rutland student awarded $5,000 to help offset student debt

RUTLAND—On Thursday, Sept. 24, Vermont State Employee Credit Union (VSECU) announced its 2015 Student LIFT (Loan Independence for Today) award recipients—its annual awards program designed to help Vermonters pay down their student loan debt by awarding three recipients with $5,000 each in monthly loan payments, on behalf of each recipient. This year’s award recipients are residents of Barre, Plainfield and Rutland.

The award is granted annually to applicants who submit an innovative idea that could positively impact Vermonters and/or Vermont communities. Winning ideas must include supporting detail that illustrates how the idea can be implemented.

This year’s winning ideas were submitted by Daniel Baslock of Barre, David Narkewicz of Rutland, and Kenzie McDonald of Plainfield. All three recipients were present for an award ceremony on Sept. 16 at the Montpelier branch. The ideas presented by the winners tackled tough subjects like chronic homelessness, financial literacy in younger populations, and whole and local food access for children.

Narkewicz, who proposed an idea aimed at improving early financial education, said, “This loan repayment award comes at a great time, as I will be able to continue my master’s education with less of a financial burden.”

Baslock and McDonald will use the reprieve from loan payments to focus more attention on their work in the community. Baslock works in community mental health and McDonald grows and distributes medicinal herbs to local people.

“The Student LIFT program is designed to reduce the financial burden on members with student loan debt. This year, the program also spurred insightful dialogue about the needs of Vermonters,” said Robert Miller, VSECU’s chief executive officer. “The ideas submitted by this year’s applicants are small sparks of energy. With encouragement and support, each one has the potential to improve the quality of life for Vermonters. The next step is putting these ideas to work.”

2015 marks the fourth year of this signature VSECU member award program. Historically, applicants applied for one of three award categories: financial literacy, service to Vermonters, or first generation. In the interest of engaging a more diverse population, VSECU broadened the submission process in 2015, challenging applicants to offer a compelling and innovative idea that would help improve the quality of life for Vermonters and/or Vermont communities.

For program details, including the Student LIFT application and guidelines, please visit VSECU’s website at

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