“I think you should go” was what Elizabeth’s high school English teacher wrote at the bottom of her essay. Take a real-life event; argue the pros and cons; come to a decision. That was the assignment and Elizabeth focused on whether she should enroll at the University of Notre Dame.
Notre Dame’s president at the time was Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh. Fr. Ted, in his book, God, Country, Notre Dame wrote, “Education should lift personal expectations, not debase them. There are great social problems everywhere, but that should not discourage people. Our universities can and should help in the search for solutions to these problems. They can and should inspire students to participate in the great causes of our day. One person can make a difference. And no one knows what he or she is capable of until he or she tries.”
Elizabeth is one person, making a difference. Her years at Notre Dame, undergraduate and those spent working on a Ph.D. in Counseling and Developmental Psychology are foundational. They provided Elizabeth the bedrock on which she found her footing, freedom, and future. “Notre Dame has given me everything that I value,” says Elizabeth. “My education, my family, the people I love the most.” Along with a top-tier education, Elizabeth found a safe home in Notre Dame; a place where she could walk the campus, delight in nature, pray and sing, learn, love, and be supported by faculty and classmates who nurtured her soul and applauded her accomplishments.
Craig Price is part of that safe home. Elizabeth and Craig met during their freshman year at Notre Dame. They were married during their senior year, and their three children have since graduated from Notre Dame. Elizabeth and Craig, with new degrees in hand, felt they had options following graduation; options that many others didn’t have. Craig’s family was able to pay for his Notre Dame education, while Elizabeth, whose family in New Mexico would have struggled to pay for an in-state college education, was deemed a Notre Dame Scholar earning her a full four-year scholarship.
Going out into the world with no student loan debt was a blessing. It allowed Craig the opportunity to work within the Catholic Church for a few years and for Elizabeth to teach in a Catholic High School. Elizabeth returned to Notre Dame, a young mother with two daughters and an encouraging husband, to work on her Ph.D. in Counseling and Developmental Psychology. Funded by a Ford Foundation Fellowship, Elizabeth yearned to understand more deeply the teenagers she had been teaching. Again, scholarships allowed her to continue her education.
Ultimately, Elizabeth started a business, LifeTime Design Consulting, leading individuals and businesses in value-based time management and goal-setting objectives. Volunteer work, writing two books, working alongside Craig in his wealth management firm, and raising the children have made up the core of Elizabeth’s life, but deep down, there was always a desire to give back. It was three years ago that a homily given by her parish priest sparked an idea.
Why not create a company that not only refinances student loans for qualified borrowers but also creates scholarships at colleges and universities around the country? That “idea” has come full circle with the creation of Impact Capital Funds. Elizabeth’s desire is “to help others to use their God-given talents to seek education and better their lives.” She hopes to “ease the pain of others and allow them more choices” and mark my words, Elizabeth will do just that.
She has moxie and steely determination. But this woman, yes, the one who created the Daredevils Club in 3rd grade, also has grit and is “stubbornly committed to completely disrupting the student loan industry.” She’d like for Impact Capital Funds to overturn the tables of other student loan refi companies and change the hearts of investors to join her efforts with impact investing. She envisions her company creating scholarships and lessening the burden of student loan debt.
In 2005, in his inaugural address, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s current president said, “The world needs a university that graduates men and women who are not only capable and knowledgeable, but who accept their responsibility to serve others – especially those in greatest need.” Elizabeth Abeyta- Price continues to accept that responsibility.
Upon reflection, she says that Notre Dame has served her in ways greater than she ever imagined. Because she is Hispanic and Native American, she has faced prejudice based on her ethnicity. Navigating life has come with racial challenges and Elizabeth says Notre Dame has protected her and helped her to pass certain racial/ethnic hurdles.
When she wears her Notre Dame Alumni polo shirt, people notice and often have a different perception of her. During the pandemic, Elizabeth has taken to wearing her ND mask. As a Hispanic/Native American woman, wearing no make-up and sweats (as we all have worn this last year), anything related to Notre Dame legitimizes her and demands respect.
The University of Notre Dame has given Elizabeth so much. When I asked her what doors were open to her because of her ND education, she said she had trouble answering because she doesn’t know what her life would have been like without Notre Dame.
Oliver Goldsmith, 18th-century Anglo-Irish playwright, poet, and novelist, once said, “Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations.” Elizabeth Abeyta-Price’s route has had bumps and detours, roadblocks and roundabouts, but what is certain is this – her faith in God served as her GPS. She paid some tolls along the way; backseat drivers may have tried to steer her wrong; mile markers signal the years that have passed. But in the rearview mirror, far behind, is the adobe house with the flagstone patio. Miles away is the Cottonwood tree with the tire swing. The meadow of her youth, with her treehouse, only a long-ago memory.
A new day dawns up ahead. The future lays bright and striking against the black asphalt. The chapters of Elizabeth’s story that lie ahead will have an impact on those who aim to improve their lives; either by refinancing their student loan debt or by seeking scholarships to attend college.
Often referred to as Archbishop Óscar Romero’s prayer (original author: Bishop Ken Untener), “Steps Along the Way” is another of Elizabeth’s favorites. Her conviction regarding the necessity of her work lends itself to these few lines.
“It helps now and then, to step back and take a long view.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.”
Long after she’s gone, Elizabeth wants her company, Impact Capital Funds, “to run in perpetuity.” She hopes to plant her seeds, add some yeast, lay foundations, and allow grace to enter in and do the rest.
We, at Impact Capital Funds, are real people, with real stories – just like you. Maybe we broke the mold here by providing you with more than a three-line CEO bio. We hope so. And we hope to break the mold in the student loan debt space too. Our mission remains steadfast: Impact Capital Funds harnesses investor capital to alleviate student loan debt burdens by lowering interest rates for university alumni and their parents, generates reliable and tax-advantaged returns for its investors, and generates scholarships for financially under-resourced individuals.
Readers, step back and take a long view. In the distance, through the mist, rising from the ashes of a smoldering childhood, you’ll see Elizabeth as she sees you, rising like a Phoenix from your own past into a future bright with opportunity.
Laura Midkiff has a passion for student loan refinancing. As the mom of three, two of whom have student loan debt, her mission is to inform, and to seek solutions to this formidable issue of our time. She has written for the South Bend Tribune and NPR radio. She paid off her undergraduate student loans in 1989.