Greetings everyone. Let me tell you a brief tale.
When my son was about a year old his father - who had left me during the pregnancy - first began trying to use the family courts to attack me whenever I wouldn't do as I was told. As a result, I spent several days in the law library at the county court house, learning everything I could about family law and what rights both a custodial and non-custodial parent have. At this point I was 21, and hadn't thought about college since my Jr. year of high school, when I determined that my mother's income was just high enough to deny me financial aid. My Social Security Survivor's benefits - my father died when I was 6 - would end when I turned 18 regardless of whether or not I went to college. And I just had no way to pay for college.
But I'd enjoyed the research so much, that something clicked. I decided to find out what my options were, now that I was a mother. And that did take out my mother's income from the paperwork, making me eligible for the Pell Grant. So I enrolled and started on an Associate of Arts in Public Relations and Communications, with some electives in Film and TV Broadcasting. And I did it, for a year and a half, before going to school full time, taking care of a baby and working part time started to burn me out. Then the point came where part-time money wasn't sufficient. We were drowning and I was failing - I had to drop out. I told myself I'd go back when things got easier. They never did.
Today, my son is 22 years old. He's had his own challenges with school, and we're still working on getting him to where he needs to be. But he's got a job and is slowly learning the things one needs to learn, to live on their own. And I, well I've been a freelancer for almost 10 years, but in the last few things have been extremely lean. I've taken all manner of temp work and gigs to try and bring some more money into the house. But I'm limited by the health problems I didn't know I had until I had insurance. I have multiple chronic pain conditions which are becoming disabling more each year. I can't even be on my feet for a few hours, much less work a full shit at a counter or cash register job. And managing those kinds of jobs is also difficult with my mix of physical therapy and doctor's appointments.
So I recently made the decision to try and return to school and finish my degree. I sat down with an advisor and was told that, if I did full time school for 14 months I will have my degree. Just 14 months. I qualified for the Pell Grant and determined that if I could borrow the maximum Stafford loan, I could get a few thousand dollars that would make up for my lack of gig/temp work during that 14 month period. It wasn't perfect, and it was going to be tight. But it could be done. Then another road block hit.
I have an old tax bill with the state, and I cannot get a Stafford loan as long as the lien attached to that bill stands. Most of it has been paid off already, but a measly $435 is literally all that is standing in the way of my ability to finally become a college graduate, at the tender age of 44. Well, measly by some standards. By my current financial standards it might as well be $4000.
So I am turning to the community for help. The minimum goal on this fundraiser is literally for the money it will cost to pay off the tax bill and the application fee for the school. I will leave it open ended, because if there are people generous enough out there to help me finish school with a little less student date I will gratefully accept it. But the only thing I'm asking for is this little nudge.