College

My granddaughter, Danielle, enrolled in vocational school, taking the cosmetology course. Living with her mother, in low-income circumstances, the books, tools and special clothing she had to have, were quite an expense. Not  being wealthy, but loving her as I do, I paid these expenses for her. She graduated and passed the cosmetology course.

Next, she had to go to Columbus to take the test in order to get her license. Of course, I paid for this, too. She passed, and got her license.

Understand that I am quite proud of this granddaughter, because she has ambition and truly wants to get ahead in life. Not something I can say about others in the family, so I had high hopes for this one.

Now, holding her license, she looked for a job. This was our first surprise. Nobody wanted to hire her because she had no experience, and no clientele following. She finally was hired by one beauty salon – as a receptionist. They agreed to allow her to do a few haircuts. Most of her hours were spent as a receptionist.

About this time, she decided to apply for a college grant to study business administration, for which she would receive an Associates degree.

Her mother’s extremely low income (which barely covered rent, utilities and food) disqualified her for the grant.

She took an apartment with a roommate. Now she qualified, and got the grant.

What we didn’t know, is that this grant does not pay everything. She needed textbooks, which were in the range of $135.00 each.  I bought the first one that she needed (used) for $78.00.  She then told me that she could rent the books from the college. What I DIDN’T know was that she was not allowed to take the books home with her. How would she study?  Most days she was running from school straight to her job.

She was cutting corners everywhere she could. She decided that she could no longer afford her cell phone, which was costing her $52 per month, and cancelled the contract. Cancelling cost her $249.00. Sprint agreed to give her six months to repay this fee. Within two weeks, she was receiving bills from collection agencies.

She had been receiving medical insurance through ADC – which ended when she turned 18. She didn’t realize this, thinking that she would be covered for as long as she was in school.

She fainted, one day, on her job. Something she’d never done before. The salon had suddenly given her five haircuts to do in a short time – one after the other. The salon insisted that she go to the hospital emergency room. She didn’t want to go, but in order to keep her job, she went as ordered.

The diagnosis was ‘Stress’.

Now, having no insurance, she was billed $1,000 for the emergency room and doctor.

We were told that she could probably get this reduced, or wiped out, by completing some forms and explaining her situation and income. We did this.
No reply. No response whatsoever. More bills were coming in.

I paid the hospital and doctor bill. I also paid the Sprint bill – trying so hard to see that she wouldn’t start out life with a bad credit rating.

About this time the college, realizing she had no insurance, said she would have to pay $500 per term, to the college, for liability insurance.

She also learned she was failing her classes with a 1.8 grade point average, and needed a 2.0 acceptable average to pass. She was advised to get a ‘withdrawal’ from her professors, and drop out of college.

Before this, she was fired from the beauty salon, since the emergency room episode showed, they felt, she wasn’t ‘cut out’ for doing hair.

She took a job in a tanning salon. She loved the job. Within a couple of months, she developed a case of ring worm on her wrist. She had never heard of ring worm, but the manager, noticing it on her wrist, sent her home and required that she visit a doctor and get a note saying she could work.

We called Urgent Care. They would see her, and write a note to her employer – for $200.00. We forgot that idea.

She called the doctor she’d always had, when she was on ADC. He agreed to see her and put her on a very affordable sliding scale. He also wrote the necessary note. The cost was under $20.00. Our first lucky break! She returned to work, cleaning tanning beds.

Today she was told, by the college, that she would have to pay back $1,800 of the college grant, since she was failing and withdrawing.

I am so disgusted. We had NO idea that a grant must be repaid if you fail.

It’s just too hard to get an education in America. One of the biggest problems is the high cost of insurance, much too expensive for a young adult to afford. Part-time and even some full-time jobs do not offer insurance.  Textbooks are priced out of reason. Grant qualifying is totally unfair – taking in a single mother’s low income.

Also, her cosmetology licence expired three months after acquiring it – with a renewal fee of $90 due. We thought that would be good for at least a year. Where does it all end? She tried, I tried. Now she is looking for any kind of job that will give her a 40-hour week, and pay insurance. She’s having no luck.