My name is Tawni Langstaff and I am from Fort Dodge, Iowa. I attended Iowa Central Community College for two years and earned my associate of arts degree. Then, I transferred to Buena Vista University to continue a degree in elementary education.

Between my sophomore and junior year, my father was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Every bit of financial aid that I’d been receiving from my family vanished. I had absolutely no way of paying for college and no time for a job; I was the one who drove my dad to his doctor’s appointments and his cancer treatments. If I had not received federal loans, I wouldn’t have been able to attend college.

Just a year after my father was diagnosed, my mother passed away due to complications from heart surgery. I am now finishing my last year of college, with absolutely no parental support and a lot of bills to pay. With student aid, I am able to work to pay those day-to-day bills and still make time to focus on school. College would not have been possible without my student loans. I am a month from graduating and becoming a licensed teacher; in my profession, I will be giving back to my community, my state and my country.

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