May 22, 2020

NGPF Podcast: Meredith Curry on navigating the financial aid process in age of pandemic

Meredith "Mer" Curry has a commitment to serving first-gen college students that comes from a very natural place. She was once in their shoes and benefited greatly from the support of others as she pursued her educational dreams. Mer shares her story and her passion to serve others as well as some timely tips and online tools to help families navigate the college financing process during these uncertain times. Enjoy! 


  • 0:00~1:13 Introduction
  • 1:13~2:38 Working as a social justice champion
  • 2:38~6:14 Mer’s educational path 
  • 6:14~7:40 Driving factors behind choosing a college
  • 7:40~11:37 Source of passion for increasing college access
  • 11:37~14:20 The key to increasing college access
  • 14:20~14:44 A word from NGPF
  • 14:44~17:57 Empowerment and education provided by college access programs
  • 17:57~25:10 The difficulties of reading a financial aid offer
  • 25:10~27:26 The impact of COVID-19 on financial aid 
  • 27:26~30:48 Recommended online tools to use
  • 30:48~34:20 Rule of thumb on taking out loans
  • 34:20~36:31 Other resources and final words
  • 36:31~38:03 Conclusion



  • “I know the financial side of college can be daunting and overwhelming and I just hope that families and educators will work together. We need to ensure that our students make the most of their options. Colleges will need to support families now more than ever so that they can advocate for the best deals that lead to less debt and more degrees.”

About the Authors

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

Ren Makino

Ren started interning at NGPF in 2014, and worked part-time through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, he joined the team to work full-time after graduating from college in 2020. He is also the producer of the NGPF podcast. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world.

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