Lipscomb senior testifies before Congress about college affordability

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At a hearing Tuesday, April 17, of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Ranking Member U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), praised Nashville native and Lipscomb University student Derrica Donelson, who is earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years, saying Donelson’s careful decision-making about her college education suggest she’ll “be a great success.”

Derrica Donelson“I am pleased to introduce Derrica Donelson, a student at Lipscomb University in Nashville,” Alexander told the committee. “She’s 23. She was born in Nashville, raised by a single working mother, attended Martin Luther King Magnet School. She’s scheduled to graduate in August with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in accounting. We look forward to hearing from her about the informed choices she made as she selected among colleges. She didn’t go to the least expensive college she could have gone to. She made a careful decision about where she wanted to go and she’s been successful.”

Donelson said she talked to the committee about her decision to attend Lipscomb and how she worked with the university’s financial aid office to develop a plan to help make an education affordable.

“I was determined that I was going to attend Lipscomb,” said Donelson. “I like the culture at Lipscomb and what it has to offer. I really do love the people here, and being here has definitely helped me grow spiritually. There were times my mom and I were uncertain about how I would afford a college education. But, the Lipscomb financial aid office was very helpful in finding a way to make it affordable for me through scholarships, grants and other aid.

Donelson told the committee that she likely could not have attended Lipscomb without the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, and that the goal of attaining the scholarship helped drive her to work hard in high school and maintain a high GPA.

“I had a great time in Washington and enjoyed telling my story to the Senate committee,” she said. “I am thankful for the opportunity to represent Lipscomb in this way.”

Alexander praised Donelson for the care with which she made her college decision.

“It sounds like you spent a lot of time making an informed decision and if you’re that comfortable with it, you’ll probably be a great success,” Alexander told Donelson at the hearing.

Donelson said she is planning to sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam soon after graduation. She has already received a staff accounting job offer and hopes start her career in the Nashville area.