I graduated from Buena Vista University in 1985. When I graduated from high school in 1979, my parents were not eligible for any financial aid even though my father had been laid off from his job. I worked for two years in a packing plant to be able to save to go to college. My income from that packing plant was enough to make me ineligible for financial aid, so I had to rely on my savings. After two years of being a full-time student, I had a 3.83 GPA, but the balance in my savings account was so low that I didn’t know how I was going to finish my next two years, in spite of working part-time. My advisor directed me to apply for the Pell Grant, a state grant, Federal Work-Study Program and a guaranteed student loan for my next year of school; needless to say, I was eligible to receive the maximum grant amount, state grants, Federal Work-Study, student loans and an academic scholarship. These allowed me to continue to go to college.

I know that without the Pell Grant, I would not have been able to finish college; I simply would not have had enough money. Since my graduation, I have gone on to obtain an MBA. I have worked with many entities that serve the public and have started scholarship funds for future students. I stress to everyone the importance of a college degree. We cannot afford to leave good students, who are our future, behind. I know I would have been left behind without the Pell Grant and the other financial aid that was made available to me.

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