I stand for those who missed out on a college experience because they could not afford one.

I stand for those that gave up education to work.

I stand for my young brother and sister in hopes that they won't need to be in the debt that I will be in.

I stand for PA Promise--legislation to ensure more affordable college for students like myself who had to give up their dreams to obtain an education.

My dream was to go to school in New York City and who could stop me? Hard work pays off, right? I guess my first mistake was assuming that a 4.0 GPA, two leadership roles, a job, and volunteer work does not count as hard work, but then again... I could just still be bitter. My dream was crushed when I got into all of my favorite schools, but could not front the bill. I knew instantly that this dream was about to die when I did not even know where I could get the deposit money from. To say that I was heartbroken and mad at the world was an understatement. With application deadlines from most schools quickly approaching, I knew that I needed a new plan--and fast. I clearly remember crying in my grandma's bedroom frantically typing "Cheap universities on the east coast". (And by cheap I meant ten thousand or more dollars a year) I can honestly that this was my first real, bitter taste of what it is like to have your dreams crushed because of something out of your control, and it sucked. It still does.

I was fortunate enough to have found the best possible alternative, West Chester University. After a "cheapest school in PA" search, a sloppy personal essay, and a quick visit to the school, I got accepted just in time and planned to spend my next 4 years here. As grateful and joyful as I was, the sting of being denied my biggest dream still stings. The worst part is, it did not have to.

With legislation like this being discussed, I cannot feel more compelled to speak out. Although the PA Promise Laws would not have prevented me from the college denial I faced, I can guarantee you that similar stories will no longer need to be said. Those that cannot afford college will have opportunities their parents never thought they could have. Hard-working, dedicated students like myself will find a purpose in their high school classes. My brother and sister can be excited about their future without the shadow of life-long debt getting in their way.

Education should not change the course of someone's life for the worst. If you stand with PA Promise, consider adding your name in support of my story and the thousands of others that don't get told here.