LOWELL, Mass. (KWQC) – At first, high school senior Emily Stutz suggested begging for money only for a laugh.
“Jokingly, I’ve said to my friends and family for a while that I would go out there with a sign and try to get money for college,” Stutz says.
“This week, I was like, ‘You know what, why not just do it?’ So I did.”
Stutz made a sign that reads, “NO $ for college” and “Anything helps,” and last Friday stood outside a Target near her home in Massachusetts.
She posted a picture of herself online, and that is when her campaign to pay for college “blew up.”
“I’ve received so much support from people all over the world,” Stutz says, “and it has been truly amazing.”
She says she has worked two jobs and kept a 4.0 in school, but after applying for every scholarship offered, she came up way short.
“I received no additional aid besides the merit that was only offered at my private schools,” Stutz says.
“While the merit was helpful, all my private schools cost $50,000+ and the merit money brought it down to around $30,000 which was still unrealistic. My state schools don’t offer any merit aid so their total is around $20,000.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, a Go Fund Me page for Stutz’ college expenses has exceeded $18,000 in donations toward her goal of $30,000.
“Overall, my point in doing what I did was to bring awareness to a topic that is SO big in our country right now- the astronomical price of college,” Stutz tells KWQC by e-mail.
“I know I’m not alone in this situation and there are so many people out there who are similarly struggling. I think it’s extremely unfair that some students could have all the academic means for college but can be held back because of money.”
Stutz acknowledges panhandling is controversial, but she says she is focused on paying for school and sending a message about all students in her situation.
“Everyone deserves a chance at a higher education regardless of their financial situation.”