Help for Mature Autistic Uni Student from America?
I am a mature (51) student from the USA who has beat cancer, many learning disabilities, and who lives with Aspergers, as well as Panic/Anxiety Disorder. After surviving kidney cancer in 2009, I decided that life was too short and I needed to finish my education, and try to make a career with what time I have left (I would like to teach, or perhaps do research or editing.) My learning disabilities and autism have prevented me from moving forward in life like other adults, but I've rec'd (and am still receiving) support and guidance to help me better navigate life - so I'm making a stab at things... for the first time in my life! (I'm actually living away from home for the very first time in my life right now.) I went back to school after diagnosis and treatment, and graduated Summa Cum Laude (with highest honours) in the states from my Community College!
Through MANY miracles (generosity of friends and family) I was able to make my way over here and start on my programme of study last year. It has always been my dream to study English Literature IN England. I am a HUGE Shakespeare nut (obsessed!) I came over on year two of the three year undergraduate course at the University of Greenwich, because I had obtained my Associate of Arts degree in Theatre prior to coming over here (it was accepted here and I rec'd credit for year one.) I finished the year with a solid 2.1 and hope to do even better this year, now that I have more experience under my belt.
Mine is a really a long story, and if you would care to read the whole thing I have it on my GoFundMe page (this is NOT a plug for the fundraiser - just a means of convenience regarding my back story...)
Anyway... my stumbling block is that I have only been able to raise about half of the tuition money for this third and final year of my course (despite working four part time jobs.) I have been cut off from US Financial Aid because I have reached the "lifetime cap" available for undergraduates. (They only notified me of this about 3/4 of the way through the year last year!) I can go ahead and register with half of my money up front, but I would need to pay the other half in late January. I am working part time, doing odd jobs as I can get them, but I have to pay my rent as well - and my Tier 4 study visa only allows me to work 20 hours per week (and for good reason, as I feel like my grades would suffer if I worked more.)
Due to medical debt in the US ruining my credit score (from the cancer I had - I had no insurance at the time,) I am unable to secure a private loan. I had "tried and failed" at university so many times in my younger years (prior to being diagnosed with the learning disabilities and Asperger's and before getting the help I needed to be able to succeed in school!) so I have hit that undergraduate cap on funding. There is no wiggle room there. Rules are rules.
I am short by about $6600 USD (or about 5000 pounds.) I am desperately trying to find a source for the money. ***I'm not looking for a handout!*** I can happily repay a loan (little by little until I get finished with school and can work full time) or better yet - I would LOVE to know of any scholarship or grant options I've not found. Trust me, I have been digging and digging on the internet for the past year, but there is just no love for the Humanities. All of the scholarships are either in the wrong field, or I'm too old, or I'm not studying in the right place (or because I am from the USA, I am ineligible.) So much that I am just not eligible for... There simply HAS to be a resource I haven't yet found though. I have been down so many rabbit holes, but keep coming up empty. It can't be hopeless. I've come too far for failure!
If anyone has ANY ideas - I would be ever so appreciative of the help. If anyone who sees this, I'd love it if you could share my story within your networks for me? The more eyes I have out there seeing my story... the more brains I have whirring, trying to help me come up with a solution... the better my chances of fulfilling my dream! I'm SO close! (And SO very excited about this final year - already been working on my dissertation and reading for the first few weeks, even though we still have another couple of weeks before classes begin...)
Thanks so much for reading...
Janni University of Greenwich student
PS - my plans, if I can finish my undergrad, are to get my Masters immediately after. I CAN go back to the FAFSA and seek US Financial Aid for that, as I will be a Post-Grad student at that point and not bound by the undergraduate cap. I just have to find a way to get through this year!