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Rachel Howdeshell

October 2019

I was just about to begin the Elementary Special Education program at Middle Georgia State University in the fall of 2017 while working part-time in childcare services and making very little money. I knew that when I started the program, I would be in school five days a week, eight hours a day. I was trying to make plans on how I would be able to pay for school while working so few hours. One afternoon during a class, a representative of the Middle Georgia Consortium came to present on how the Consortium could help us pay for school. I was so amazed to hear that the Consortium would pay for tuition, books, test fees, graduation fees, application fees, caps and gowns, and even provide transportation assistance for the days I had to attend class. Prior to hearing about how the Consortium could help with my tuition and fees, I had received financial aid through the Pell grant. However, once I submitted my application and was determined eligible and suitable to receive Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding, the Consortium began supporting me with expenses that were in excess of what Pell covered. During my very last semester, a month before graduation, I received a notice saying I had an outstanding balance on my student account of a little over $3,000.00 because my PELL had been exhausted and would I would not be able to graduate unless the outstanding balance was paid in full. After freaking out a little bit, I contacted the Consortium to see if they would be able to figure out what was going on. After just a few hours of checking into my student account, my Career Facilitator, Cristie, contacted me saying that the Consortium would pay my tuition and fees in full for my last semester. I cannot explain what a blessing this program has been to my career, and I would recommend every student needing support to contact the Middle Georgia Consortium.


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