Former teacher turned hip-hop artist Dee-1, in partnership with Sallie Mae, the nation's saving, planning, and paying for college company, visited Houston today for "Dee-1's Knowledge for College Tour," a six-city national tour promoting planning for college and financial literacy. Dee-1 met with and performed for 1,000 students at the Houston Power Center and awarded $5,000 scholarships from Sallie Mae to two students in the audience.

"Going to college doesn't change your life; graduating from college changes your life," said Dee-1. "It all starts with a good game plan, and that's why we're here today. Our young people need the tools and resources to get on the right track not only to go to college, but also to complete college. The good news is there are free tools and resources out there that can help."

Born David Augustine, Dee-1 graduated from Louisiana State University with a bachelor's degree in marketing. During his visit to Houston, the rapper and motivational speaker addressed more than 1,000 high school students, discussing his transformation from middle school math teacher to hip-hop artist and his college experience. Students then joined him on stage as he performed his viral hit song, "Sallie Mae Back," in which he celebrates repaying his student loans.

Houston was the last of six stops on "Dee-1's Knowledge for College Tour." During tour stops over the past three weeks in Cleveland, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia, Dee-1 interacted with and performed for more than 5,000 high school students.

In addition to scholarships, as part of the Houston tour stop, Sallie Mae donated $20,000 to the Houston Independent School District Foundation for hurricane relief efforts. Rick Cruz, Houston Independent School District's Major Projects Officer, and Juliet Stipeche, Director of Education for the City of Houston, were on hand to accept the donation.

Sallie Mae also provided $50,000 to the American Red Cross to support hurricane relief efforts in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. The company also pledged an additional $10,000 to support college scholarships for students affected by the storms.

"Dee-1 is a true ambassador for financial literacy and college planning and connects with students in a way that helps them understand and realize that with a little planning, college is very much within reach," said Dan VanSciver, senior vice president, Sallie Mae. "At Sallie Mae, we wholeheartedly share in that mission, and we've been thrilled to bring that message to so many students as part of this tour. We are also happy to do our part to support hurricane relief efforts in Houston and elsewhere."

Join the conversation at #Dee1Knowledge, and get started looking for scholarships at

For more information about saving, planning, and paying for college, visit

Sallie Mae (Nasdaq: SLM) is the nation's saving, planning, and paying for college company. Whether college is a long way off or just around the corner, Sallie Mae offers products that promote responsible personal finance, including private education loans, Upromise rewards, scholarship search, college financial planning tools, and online retail banking. Learn more at Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

View source version on

Copyright Business Wire 2010