Hi! My name is Catherine, and I'm an international student from Kenya. I’m in my 5th and last year of Architecture school at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. And if I don't raise $10,000 by Friday, September 29, I'm going to be deported.
To tell my story properly, I've got to let you know a little about me first. I'm the oldest of four children, and my parents are both first generation college graduates. They wanted to pass that on to their children, which is why they took on the arduous task of paying for me to come here. Please understand, my family is not well off. We make enough to get by, but not much more. But they understood the immense opportunity presented by a college degree, especially in a developing country like Kenya, so they were willing to take the risk.
In my four years here, I've made it through a lot, including increasing financial instability, severe depression, and family crisis. Being an international student, I’m not allowed to work anywhere except on campus, and the jobs that are available here to me are very limited. I cannot get a loan unless I’m co-signed by a U.S. citizen. I also have to pay twice what a citizen would pay, though I have fewer resources to find money. This has caused an immense amount of stress, especially combined with all the classwork of my major. Being thousands of miles away from my family, I’ve had to deal with most of these issues by myself.
Despite all this, I’ve accomplished a number of things. I’ve made it through with a GPA of 2.9 in what is rated one of the most majors difficult in America. I am among around 50 students who remain in the Class of 2018, which started with 150 students. I’ve been awarded the International Presidential Scholarship, the Albert Dorman Honors College Scholarship, and the Jose Caraballo Annual Scholarship. I’ve been on the Dean’s List consistently since spring 2014. I’m a member of Alpha Rho Chi, a professional fraternity, and I was elected Vice President for 2015-2016.
Currently, I owe the school a LOT of money, largely because my family has been struggling in the past few years with increasing tuition and they just don’t have the money. The school has been letting me register with a balance, but they’ve reached the limit of what they can allow. If I don’t get this money to them by the end of the week, I’ll be out of compliance with my visa requirements, and be forced to leave the country. I’ve worked hard to make it this far, and I want to be able to finish what I’ve started, but I can’t do that without your help. If you can contribute anything at all to help me, it would mean the world to me. Thank you all!
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