Help Me Finish at Rider University

UpdateI've mad progress so far, and my story is trending, and its all thanks to people like you sharing my story, donating, and believing me. The deadline is approaching quickly, October 16th, 2017 is when classes must be picked, and I have to have paid off my account by October 13th to avoid late fees and be greenlit for classes. Please help!

My name is Emmanuel Rivera and I'm a Senior Philosophy Major, Legal Studies Minor, at Rider Univeristy . I transferred here Fall 2016, and Rider was my first choice after getting my Associate's from Salem Community College . I took advantage of an Open House and realized while on campus at how much at home I felt. 

Now let me take a pause; I am a Non-Traditional student.

What does that mean?! Long story short, it means I didn't go to college right after high-school. In my particular case it means, I dropped out of high school, got my GED, worked for awhile in retail, earned a few promotions, but then due to a family hardship lost my job and ended up at a community college. AND community college was one of the best experiences I've had in my life. It was the first time I felt like an intellectual, and it opened my eyes that I could go to a four year school and get the "TRADITIONAL" College Experience.

And man have I!

Rider has been a pretty amazing place, and I'm proud to say that "It's a Great Day To Be a Bronc."

I've met some amazing people through the programming at Rider University. (Jack Ciattarelli)

Me completing my one year term as Alumni Trustee at Salem Community College.

I even had the opportunity to serve as a New Student Orientation Leader this summer, working with multiple offices of the administration to welcome incoming First Year Students.

I'm also a Community Assistant, working in Conover Hall, a First Year Experience building where I oversee two wings of students. (Photo of Conover Staff)

I also serve in the Rider Student Government Association. (I started as a Senator from the College of Liberal Arts, but now currently sit as Chair of Campus Life.)

I've been super active and involved, tirelessly working to soak up every drop I can from my time here at Rider University.  The journey here has been amazing, especially considering how many people told me I wouldn't be able to get this far. That I had "wasted" too much time.  

So here we are in September of 2017, and I'm looking down the road, my final lap towards my undergraduate degree. I'm on track to graduate in four years, and currently I'm maintaining a 3.9GPA. I've been inducted into mutliple Honor Societies: Phi Sigma Tau, Chi Alpha Upsilon, and Phi Theta Kappa, are to name a few.  I've listed many of my activities, Student Government planning Fall Traditions and creating sustainable programs, working with Office of First and Second Year Programs as an Orientation Leader,  serving in Conover as a Community Assistant, and many awesome experiences that I wouldn't trade for the world.

All of this has come at a cost and a sacrifice. Much of what I earn and the support I have from my family has been directed towards this effort. I haven't turned away from my responsibilities, and I have strived to make sure I don't take for granted or waste the sacrfices me and my family have made for these dreams. Lofty or ambitious goals should ever deter us from trying.

That being said, recently I have run into a bit of bad news. Due to some miscalculation, my financial aid package had to be changed, to no fault of anyone. This has now left me unexpectedly with a substantial debt to the University.  At this point in my academic career, I find my self so close to finishing where I started, and I am just a two semesters shy of graduating. Moreover, most colleges would not accept all of the credits I've completed if I were to transfer credits. It is in many ways necessary I finish my undergraduate program here and now. The momentum that has been built up, the sacrifices made on my behalf, have all led to this  critical moment, and I don't believe giving up now is the answer. I know that somehow I will find a way to meet this owed debt, and I only hope that whoever is reading this, will join with me and help make this dream a reality.  Which is why I won't stop applying for graduate programs and graduate assistantships, and I will continue to work diligently on the work that is assigned to me. Graduating isn't about possibility, it is about necessity. It is necessary I do this, therefore I will

The debt that I am incurring for the Fall Semester is $2,392.35.  I don't have an exact number for the Spring Semester, however it will be slightly higher because of housing and tuition deposits being applied to the bill for this semester.  I estimate an additional $400 roughly. The reason I anticipate the need for $6,000 is because of a combination of fees for using the GoFundMe Platform, interest rates, and fees for payment plans.

Without this money, there will be an hold on my account, and not only will I not be able to pick my classes or get credit for the courses taken, but I won't be able to graduate. I've begun to contact certain institutions and such to borrow money, but some of it carries high interest rates and strings attached. I'm hoping to move now to avoid any issues with the school, but your help can stagnate the growth of large amounts of interest, and avoid the necessity of borrowing such large amounts period. This is already past deadline, as I had anticipated receiving a different amound of aid originally when I worked out my budget. 

I am an advocate for my peers and community. I aim to serve through public office, education, and other opportunities to enhance the general welfare of those around me. By leveraging my experience I believe that everyone's life can be made better, and when everyone has a higher quality of life, everyone else gains.

All I can leave you with is this. I work hard, I have big dreams, and if given the opportunity and resources, I will make it happen.


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Emmanuel Rivera 
Pennsville, NJ
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