Send Jason to Graduate School

This is me:

Jason J. Fisher, an American citizen who has been accepted at University College Cork in Ireland to the taught Master’s Programme in Philosophy. The programme is one year in length, featuring one semester of classes, and one semester to compose a Master’s Thesis. I intend to explore and critically examine post-Existentialist philosophy as the focus of my Thesis, an area which has continued to fascinate and frustrate me.

My letter of acceptance from UCC.

I am currently living in Cork, Ireland with my German partner, who is working full-time at a tech company.

University College Cork: A gorgeous, world class university in Cork, Ireland, with over 15,000 students. In the 2011 QS World University Rankings, UCC received a five-star rating and was rated among the top 2% of schools worldwide.

My Conundrum:

As a non-EU student, the cost of tuition is €12,500 (approx. $16,750)
NOTE: EU Student tuition for this programme is €5,770 (approx. $7,700), a much more feasible amount.

I have, however, been awarded two scholarships totaling €1,500 (approx. $1,975), leaving my remaining obligation at €11,000 (approx. $14,490). I spoke at length with the UCC Finance Office and they have allowed me to make two equal payments throughout the academic year; meaning my first payment will be €6,250. (approx. $8,230). This reduced amount is still prohibitively expensive at this time.

I have spoken to numerous departments at UCC regarding additional funding, but as a non-EU Student, there appears to be nothing else available.

I have discussed the possibility of reassigning my student status to “EU Student” with UCC, but was told that, typically, students would have to reside in the EU for 3 of the last 5 years to be considered an EU Student.

Furthermore, I have inquired to the Higher Education Authority (Irish Govt. Dept) regarding atypical situations, and if any other path to changing my student status exists. As of this writing I have had no luck and made no headway in this pursuit.


Funding I have already secured:

Department of Philosophy Scholarship- €150
CACSSS (College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Science) Excellence Scholarship for MA- €1350

Funding I am in the process of applying for:

I am a member of Golden Key International Honour Society, and will be applying for these scholarships:
Education Debt Reduction Scholarship- $5,000*
Graduate Scholar Scholarship Award- $10,000*

*Important Note: The application for these scholarships are not due until Oct 1st. The winners will not be announced until February of 2015, long after the payment deadline for my programme has passed. So, while they are certainly an opportunity to win more funding, they will be too little, too late for this academic year, unless I can raise the required money now.

Personal/Educational Background:

I was raised in an Air Force household, growing up all over the United States. Due to trying family circumstances, I moved out when I was 17. I graduated high school during 2005 in Texas in the top 15% of my class.

After finishing high school, I moved to San Antonio, TX, where my best friend’s family graciously allowed me to live with them.
During this time, I attended Northwest Vista Community college, online and at the school, one class at a time as I could afford it.
At a certain point, I decided a more stable environment was needed for academic success.
I then worked for nine months in a microchip factory and saved up $3,000.
Following this, a friend opened his home to me, and I relocated to Wichita Falls, TX, enrolling at Midwestern State University.

During the next four years (2[phone redacted]), I:

*Attended school full-time every semester, while working full-time approx. 70% of that period.
*Accumulated a 3.62 GPA
*Was a Teaching Assistant for the Philosophy Department
*Was nominated for Outstanding Senior Man in Philosophy (2012)
*Completed the requirements of MSU’s Honors Program
*Was asked to join two Honors Societies- Alpha Chi and Golden Key International Honours Society
*Made it a personal quest to secure college funding, and was able to fully pay for the first three years of my undergraduate degree.

In 2012, I graduated Cum Laude, MSU Honors Program, with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with Minors in Philosophy and Art.

In Conclusion:
I applied to UCC because I miss academia; I yearn to be surrounded by intellectual peers, to be taught by first-rate professors. I want to attend moving lectures and hold conversations into the night about various philosophical concepts.
I wasn’t confident about being accepted. UCC has a reputation as a rigorous institution.
Having been offered a spot in the programme, it is supremely frustrating to know that I may not be able to attend. It is not that I lack the intellectual firepower necessary, but I'm bound by financial limitations.

Why not loans? They are an option I have explored, but it is my understanding that one must have 6 months employment before an Irish bank would consider granting a loan, and my partner has only been employed two months at this point. I abhor debt, and fought throughout my undergraduate career to make a living AND secure funding for an education. It was only during an extremely low personal point that I took out approx. $5,000 for my last year of college. I am no stranger to hard work & adversity either: during the Fall of 2011, a time when most around me feared I would not finish college, I worked two jobs and continued attending class while I was effectively homeless, sleeping in my car, the art studio, or on a couch in friends’ dorm room.

With that said, I turn to the vast wild frontier of the internet and crowd funding, with nearly empty pockets and the dream of obtaining my Master’s without acquiring crushing debt. If you find my cause worthy and donate, I thank you and will be forever grateful. If you respect the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake and help raise awareness, I am in your debt.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself".- George Bernard Shaw

Thank you,
Jason J. Fisher
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Jason J. Fisher 
Wichita Falls, TX
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