Graduate School Funding

After five years outside academia, I'm no closer to my career goals than the day I earned my BA. Despite the conventional wisdom that suggests graduate students plunge ever deeper into debt; if I secure a TA position, NDSU's graduate program in English literature would compensate me for my tuition in full, and the accompanying stipend would help me pay off my undergraduate student loans far faster than any job I've found.

Unfortunately, there are three obstacles that have to be overcome before I can get into a graduate program. During my last semester of school, I was unable to secure loans for the remainder of my tuition. After five years, I'm down to $4600 owed. In order to have my transcripts sent to a grad school, I need to pay that debt off. That's by far the biggest thing standing in my way; and if I can only raise that much, I'll be ecstatic.

The second obstacle is $235 worth of fees for the GREs and the cost of applying to graduate programs themselves. Compared to the first, that's fairly trivial, but in my current financial situation, it could still take me months to save up.

Finally, while a TA position at NDSU would take care of my tuition expenses, and the accompanying stipend would give me enough to save what I need for future semesters and to pay down other debts, there are $1200 in other initial fees at NDSU that are *not* taken care of.

With even the initial $4600, I will make the rest happen. Really, with or without this money, I'll make it happen - eventually, somehow. But on my own, this whole sum would take me years to save. With your help, I can raise this money in time to attend in 2014 or 2015, rather than 2019 or 2020. If everyone who sees this message gives me $20, I'll make my goal easily, bringing my dreams and my career plans five years closer. But any amount will help, and any amount will be welcome.

I feel uncomfortable asking for any help at all. If I had to ask any one person for this whole sum, I couldn't do it. I was raised to believe that I should earn what I have, and I still believe that. But if 301 of you will place $20 worth of trust in me, I promise you that I will spend my time in school and in the career that comes after thinking of you every day, and working to earn that faith you're placing in me now. I'm confident that I can do that.

Thank you.

ETA: I've received $125 in donations through the mail. Since I can't add that to the donations received section without donating it, & thereby losing 5% to gofundme, I've instead lowered my total goal by $125 dollars.
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Matt Smit 
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