Howdy y’all! I’m Cooper, and I’m 19 years old. When I was younger, my dad ran a successful coal company and we were well off enough. However, when I was in middle school, he was falsely accused of a tax related crime that nobody ever explained to me. There was a SWAT team sent to lay siege to his office and our family’s house, the following legal battles drained most of our resources, and my dad had to go to prison for a year or risk more financial ruin. The year he was gone was extremely difficult for my mom and I, and even now that he’s home we’re still struggling to make ends meet. On top of that, our house was flooded a few months after he came back and we had to pay for the floors to get repaired while paying for a hotel to stay in until the repairs were done. We still haven’t totally moved back in. Many of our appliances have broken in the past few months, and last week, something went wrong with the plumbing and now we don’t have hot water.
On top of this, I am autistic and need medication to function. My prescriptions are Vyvanse and Citalopram, and while the citalopram isn’t too costly, a 30 day supply of Vyvanse is $270. This would be bad enough if I was the only one who needed medication in the house, but both my parents have several prescriptions they have to have as well. Mom also needs leg surgery, but we can’t afford it. She runs an estate sale business and overworks herself, so she might be exacerbating the issue. However, she doesn’t have much of a choice.
I’m also currently enrolled at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and I’m so grateful. I want to go into either animation or comics, and SCAD has some of the best resources to make that happen. However, it’s expensive just taking classes from home right now, and moving in next school year will mean adding the meal plan bill on top of it. Supplies for classes add up quickly. I did get quite a bit in scholarships, but I’m still paying around $36,000 a year. By the time I graduate, I will likely wind up $90,000 in debt.
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why I don’t just get a job, and that’s a fair concern. Towards the beginning of the whole pandemic nightmare, my mom had to take me off the car insurance to save money, so I can no longer drive. We live in Arkansas, so public transportation is not really a viable option. In addition to this, I mentioned before that I am autistic and attending SCAD. SCAD courses are work heavy and the school has a reputation for being intense. My classes are also at odd hours which would complicate setting my hours. I’ve been working on my executive functioning for years and I’m much better than I used to be, but I would likely underperform in either the job or my classes if I tried to do both, and that’s not an option. Furthermore, nobody is really hiring right now.
So what am I asking for exactly? While there’s a ton of things going on, I think that covering college costs would help my family most in the long term. It would lift a weight off of our shoulders, and my mom might finally relax a bit.
Tuition for SCAD is $52,554 a year, including the meal plan. One of my scholarships is allowing me to enter as a sophomore, so I only need to pay for 3 years rather than four. I also received $22,795 in financial aid, so that means I’m paying $36,221 a year. Based on that, the amount I need to cover the costs of tuition and the meal plan should be $108,663.
I have attached a screenshot of my financial aid offer from the school below. I can send the pdf on request. Thank you for your time.