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Yesterday I thought something wonderful had happened. I received a call from the financial aid office at my community college and was told that I had been approved for financial aid. This was exciting and wonderful for more reasons than the obvious. I was elated. I began making plans for how I was going to use the money and for which classes I was going to take the next quarter. Additionally, I was going to be reimbursed for summer quarter, for which I had already paid. Between the reimbursement and the funds for fall quarter, I was finally able to pay off my old school and could finally go back to school for real.

Several years ago, I had to drop out of college because of the car accident I was in. Some of the tail end of my recovery has been chronicled in this blog but the worst of it I kept private. Recovery was long, painful, and something I didn’t think I’d ever succeed at. I thought that I was going to be unable to walk forever. In my mind, I was going to decline and die in the room I was staying in. That room had become my prison of sorts because of my limited mobility. To me, it felt like all I’d ever have.

That, of course, was not the case. Over the years, I’ve fought through recovery from those injuries, the resulting PTSD, and so much more to be the happy, fully functional person I am now. However, one thing remains.

In the years I was focused on recovery, I did not realize that I had not correctly withdrawn from school. I had an unpaid bill that was increasing more and more as time went on, with an 18% interest rate. By the time that I was healed and together enough to begin addressing it, the bill had more than doubled. I’ve been paying it down for the past couple of years but with such a high interest rate, it’s hard to even keep the amount steady, let alone pay it down.

The amount I was going to be reimbursed, along with the amount I would receive (including loans) would have allowed me to pay that debt and apply to a new four-year school to complete my software engineering degree. In fact, as long as I could get in to a particular school, my work would even pay for that degree.

So, with the news, I was elated. I was finally out of the financial trap I’d been in for years. I could finish school and get a job doing what I love.

Then, this morning, I got an email from the financial aid person I’d spoken with saying that she had not completely reviewed my file and that I did not actually qualify. I would receive no financial aid.

It was such an awful feeling. I feel so stuck in this place. I’m trying to take on freelance web development projects to help but I haven’t been able to find anything yet that isn’t trading services. I know that will help my portfolio, but it doesn’t get me back in school.

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