Operation: Help Keegan Avoid Bankruptcy*

*And also help him go from being a completely broke college kid to a paid professional so he never has to ask for help again.

Hello friends and family - I'll be straight with you. My financial situation is dire. I'm about a single paycheck away from going bankrupt on any given month, I have an auto-immune disorder that increases food costs dramatically, and my monthly bills are staggering.

I'm about to graduate with my journalism degree and launch into the professional world, starting with two very prestigous internships, but there are financial burdens that are insurmountable for me right now holding me back. I need your help.

What will my money be used for?

-Car of my own (required for all my job options)
-Car payments
-Gas 
-Insurance
-Updated driver's license/registration/tags/plates/etc.
-Graduation fees
-Security deposits/first month's rent for apartments near my internship locations
-Enough money to get by on for my (hopefully brief) job search after my internships
-Any unexpected expenses tied to moving, interning, etc.
-Ideally some money for emergencies if they come up

Why do you need it (or in other words, how did you get here?)

The short version is that due to a death of a parent and the way the financial aid system works, I was inelligible for financial aid for almost all of my college career. On top of that, I developed an auto-immune disorder - celiac disease - about a year and a half ago that increased my grocery bills considerably, sometimes up to 250% more. So I supported myself with a student job, unsubsidized federal loans, private loans, and multiple maxed out credit cards. I ran out of reserve funds, loan options, and available credit card balance in the middle of March, and a secondary source of income that I was relying on being there starting March unexpectedly dried up, leaving me almost unable to pay my bills and certainly not able to move somewhere to get a job or internship. Additionally, my student job relies on my continuing to be a student, which means it - my only source of income - disappears in less than a month. 

The longer version can be found at the bottom.

Why $5,000?

This is a conservative estimate on the amount I would need to be able to pay for all of the things mentioned above if I live very frugally, buy a cheap-but-reliable car, etc. Only one of the internships is paid, so there will be a three month period where I'll be working a part-time job and will need some extra money to make ends meet. I also want to have some sort of savings to fall back on if I have to go a couple of months without a job while searching for one.

What happens if you raise more than $5,000?

Like I mentioned above, $5,000 is a pretty conservative estimate. Anything extra will go into paying any unforseen costs associated with moving, job hunting, interning, etc. In the very unlikely even that I raise enough money to go above and beyond my needs listed above, any extra money will go toward paying off my outstanding debt, with higher-interest debts getting priority. I have $60,000 in debt, so I sincerely doubt I'll get enough money to pay it all off.

I'm also a poor college kid, and I have all of a dollar to give to you. Is it even worth it?

Yes. Every bit helps. 

What happens if you don't meet your goal?

GoFundMe doesn't require the goal to be met in order to disburse funds, unlike Kickstarter. You're donating money, not pledging it. This means I'll be withdrawing money as it comes in and doing some budgetary triage.

I want to donate, but I don't want to go through GoFundMe. How can I help?

PayPal and personal checks are both options, as are bank transfers if you're with the Oregon Community Credit Union or Wells Fargo. I'm not going to give any personal information out here, but feel free to message me on Facebook, Twitter, or via GoFundMe for other ways to contribute.

 

--

So, the longer version. My mom (who raised me as a single parent) died when I was 17, which meant going into college I had to declare the income from my dad and my stepmother. They make enough that the federal government assumed that they would pay my way through college, which made me inelligible for financial aid. I'm also not a huge part of their life, and they have two kids of their own to help get through school, so they understandably didn't pay my way through college. They only paid for the first year and co-signed for a private loan, and after that it was up to me to come up with the money.

This meant taking out unsubsidized federal loans, private loans, and running up a ton of credit card debt. I have had a student job for most of my college career, but the cap on weekly hours you can work as a student was 20 for most of that time, and then 25, and that's not even close to enough to keep up with the costs of going to school. Not to mention the fact that I developed celiac disease, an auto-immune disorder that triggers whenever I eat even trace amounts of wheat, barley, or rye, which drove up both my food bills and medical costs considerably.

I knew my situation was untenable, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel. When my mom was dying, she created a trust for me. There wasn't much money in it, but there was some, and more importantly our house was in it. The idea was that we would rent out the house to pay for the mortage, and on my 25th birthday whatever money was left over in the trust would transfer to me and the house would be paid off. My mom had always struggled to stay afloat financially, and she didn't want me to stress over being able to afford rent, medical care, etc. like she had. It was a good plan, and it would have worked, too - I would have left college with a lot of debt, but I would have had some money and supplementary income to help me ease into the professional world.

But then the financial crisis hit. And then the roof on the house rotted and had to be completely replaced. And by the end of it there was not only no money in the trust, but not even enough to close it out and let me start collecting rent from the house. It will probably be at least three or so months before I can start collecting money from the house, and I don't have three months to wait... my internships are happening now, my bills are due, and my student job is going to disappear.

And that's where you find me now: with no money, but needing money to be able to make money. It's quite the conundrum.

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Organizer

Keegan Shiloh Clements-Housser 
Organizer
Eugene, OR
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