Rachel's Tuition Fund

Hello, and thank you for taking the time to look at my page. 

My name is Rachel, I am 28 years old, and originally from Knoxville, TN. In 2016, I and my husband got on an airplane (for the first time ever in our lives) and came to Japan because I was accepted to Tsukuba University. I am currently in my second year in the Global 30 International Studies program, and quite frankly, I am kicking butt. I have maintained a 3.9 GPA despite having to work to support myself and my husband (he has Multiple Sclerosis and is unable to work). There are many challenges to being a "non-traditional" student, even if you aren't in a foreign country on the other side of the world. However, all things considered I am very happy here. 

But we all know, if things were going smoothly, there would be no reason for me to start a GoFundMe (GFM) page. Due to the extremely high cost of care for my husband (at times, over half of my total income for a month), I have not been able to save for this year's tuition.

After many long discussions with the university, explaining my (and my family's) financial burdens, my inability to pay the full amount, and reviewing the options over the last 10 months,  the university has informed me if I don't pay tuition by the end of March, that I will be expelled. Being expelled means I have to leave Japan, without a degree or option to transfer my credits. It means the two years I have been working so hard for disappear. 

Perhaps to many people, $3500 is a small amount of money. Certainly it can't buy all that much if you think in terms of high-end electronics, houses, or cars. But it can buy something that is so much more valuable to me. It can buy me a chance to build a better life. It can buy me options. It can give me an opportunity to not only provide for my family, but allow me to pursue positions that allow me to give back to others. 

It is the university's opinion that as a student, someone from my home country should be supporting me. I think as many students know, there is not always someone willing or able to support us in the ways institutions might expect. 

The original cost of my tuition was around $4500, but diligent saving will allow me to save $1000 by the time of the deadline which is the last week of March 2018. If we are able to fund over the original amount of the limit, all monies will be saved for future tuition. If we don't hit the limit, then sadly the funds will be spent returning myself and my husband back to America (without the aforementioned degree). 

I hope if you have the means, I can encourage you to donate to my cause. And if you don't, that I can at least encourage you to share this page. Honestly, any small amount truly does help. 

If you have read this far, I owe you even more thanks. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you would like to donate but aren't able to donate through GoFundMe due to country restrictions, there are other ways to donate.
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Rachel Ballew
Strawberry Plains, TN

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