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Posted under: News

An 18-Year-Old Just Graduated Howard University Without Any Debt

Impressive much?

Nadiya Blair just graduated from Howard University with no debt at the age of 18 and she has big plans ahead.

The standout graduate, who plans to oversee a franchise vector marketing business for a million-dollar company, wisely carried out her financial plans while in school.

She first enrolled in a dual credit program at her high school in partnership with San Jacinto College, a community college in Houston. The program allowed her to get an associate’s degree at the same time as her high school diploma and made it possible to enter Howard University as a junior, Defender network reported

At Howard, Blair received a tuition scholarship and regularly applied for smaller scholarships that covered many of her other expenses. The debt-free student graduated from the historic HBCU two years later, earning honors as Summa Cum Laude. 

The teenager said it was especially difficult to stay focused during the pandemic.

"For so many people, we’ve suffered so many losses during the pandemic, and it’s almost like you don’t have time to mourn," she told Defender Network. "That can be very emotionally draining. And I don’t even just mean loss of people in your life, but loss of dreams, goals, graduation, things that we’ve been looking forward to for years. It really gets down on you. So I think that was the hardest part, making sure that I kept my head up."

Blair credits her parents for helping her achieve her dreams.

“I definitely give credit to my creator. But also my parents are just exceptional people," she said. "The amount of love my parents have poured into me was awesome. They weren’t helicopter parents. But they did encourage me and were extremely supportive, but they didn’t force me to do anything. They took the approach, ‘If you get a bad grade, that’s on you, and you can’t do the things you want in life with bad grades.’ That onus just made me want to do well.”

The HBCU graduate will now take a year off and learn to play the guitar, as well as work on improving on her Spanish. At the same time, she plans to look into graduate school programs. Her plan is to pursue a master’s degree in public policy and ultimately create a nonprofit focused on college readiness and professional development.

She will also continue her community service work and apply to receive the Presidential Lifetime Service award, which is given to those who have completed 2,000 community service hours, according to Because Of Them We Can. 

After the year off, Blair said she will focus on her business.

“I’m currently running a franchise for my own vector marketing business," she said. "I’m really excited about that because it’s just so exciting that my bosses have trusted me to run a franchise for quarter of a billion dollar company at 18. It’s the coolest thing ever.”

The teen advises students to take advantage of scholarships, no matter how small they may be. 

"I didn’t get a full ride from Howard. They covered tuition, but that’s it," she said. "I was blessed to have a bunch of small scholarships. I never had to worry about a job. My number one tip is don’t snub your nose at small scholarships. I spent a lot of time going after $100, $300, $500 scholarships because they add up." 

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