Giving Back While Still Paying Back

NSU's Tamara Baker

Tamara Baker, M.A. is one of more than 40 million Americans with student loan debt. As a college student, she was denied financial aid because of her father’s middle class income. However, with six other children to care for, her family could not afford to pay her tuition. Instead of letting her dreams go by the wayside, Baker sought scholarships and took on student loans to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree from St. Thomas University. Today, in a position she’s worked hard to earn at Nova Southeastern University, she’s doing what she can to lessen the financial strain for others.

“I don’t want anybody to be in the situation that I’m in. I don’t have any regrets because these loans got me to where I am, but that’s why it’s easy for me to give back and encourage others to do the same. I just tell them my story.”

Baker, who works in NSU’s Financial Operations office, is a member of the advisory committee that created the Financial Operations Changing Lives Scholarship. While she believes that giving back is rewarding in itself, she also values the teamwork involved in fostering the scholarship. “When you can get a group of people with the same mindset to come together and give—well, that’s great.” She said that her team makes it easy to love working at NSU, crediting their commitment and hard work.

While Baker doesn’t deal with students directly, she indirectly serves them in her role as associate manager in Contract and Grant Accounting, seeking out “free money” that may be available to them. It is important to her that students do their best in school and pursue scholarships. “We have to take care of the students by encouraging them and motivating them. We can’t forget about the purpose of a university—it’s where students come to receive an education. We’re here because of the students. We help them, they help us.”

A donor can name a Changing Lives Scholarship with a gift of $1,000 each year for five years. For $5,000 paid each year for five years into NSU’s endowment, a donor can create a named scholarship, research, faculty support, or program fund designed to last for generations. Interested in establishing a scholarship? Please contact or (954) 262-2127.

Students interested in scholarship opportunities can go to