Higher education in the United States is expensive: 70 percent of college students graduate with student loans, and more than 44 million Americans currently hold $1.5 trillion in student debt. But paying for graduate school just got easier for 37-year-old Courtney Schlaud, who won $500,000 on CNBC's "Deal or No Deal."
When you come into a huge windfall, like if you win the lottery or score big on a game show, it can be tempting to spend your money on impulse buys, Schlaud tells CNBC Make It. A lot of people said "trips," she says, when contestants were asked during auditioning what they would most likely spend their money on if they won big.
Schlaud says her focus is different: "Because of the show, I'm in grad school for social work and excited to have that opportunity."
Before she wanted to become a social worker, though, Schlaud worried about going further into debt to get the degree, since she already had loans she was struggling to pay off. Now, however, she can.