(LOWELL, Mass.) — A high school senior, struggling to pay for college, panhandled on the streets of Lowell, Massachusetts, to raise money.
Emily Stutz had applied for every scholarship offered through her high school, worked two jobs and maintained a 4.0 throughout high school. But it still wasn’t enough to fund her college education.
“It became apparent to me that it was going to be difficult to fund my education when I got my financial aid letters,” Stutz, an 18-year-old senior at Lowell High School, told ABC News today. “I kind of prepared myself for the worst, but when I got my letters it was rough.”
With the deadline to commit to a school coming up in less than a month, Stutz joked with her family that she would stand in the street and ask for the $20,000 to $30,000 a year she needed for her education.
But after more thought, she decided that might not be such a bad idea after all.
So on Friday, Stutz made a sign that read “H.S. SENIOR NO $ for College Anything Helps” and stood outside the exit of the Target plaza in Lowell for three hours.
“I had a lot of people come up to me and give me an overwhelming amount of support,” she said. “Some people made negative comments and told me to get a job, but the good outweighed the bad so much that it didn’t even matter.”
Stutz also stood outside on Saturday for another three hours. She raised more than $600 over the two days spent outside, as well as another $16,000 from a GoFundMe page she created last Thursday.
“I can’t believe how quickly this has picked up,” she said. “I received support from all over the country. They believe in me so much and I can’t thank them enough for that.”
Stutz will not continue panhandling, as “there are people that need that money even more than me,” she said.
But Stutz is happy she could bring attention to a situation students all over the country are facing. Luckily for Stutz, the money donated has made it “easier to make my decision,” she said.
Stutz is still not sure where she will be attending school, but she plans on pursuing a pre-med path, majoring in psychology to become a psychiatrist.
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