This year as I head back to school, something is different. The Dabney Promise Program launches this Fall, which means that for the first time, I won’t have to take out a major loan to finance my education. It means that I will only work part-time this semester, instead of working more than 40 hours a week. It means that I can now afford to enroll in a full-time course-load. It means that at the age of 41, the dream I have put on hold for 22 years will finally be within reach.
My name is Heather Price and I grew up in Virginia. After graduating from high school, I enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University to study Social Science. I dreamed of becoming a defense lawyer for children.
I could only afford to attend classes part-time while working over 40 hours a week as a waitress and pizza delivery driver. I needed to focus on my classes, but didn’t have the time. When I was offered a job abroad, I dropped out of school after having taken only a handful of classes.
While overseas, I was able to create a successful fashion business, but after 17 years, I knew I wanted to come home and continue to pursue my dream – which led me to Dabney Community College. I couldn’t have returned to school if it wasn’t for community college. I wouldn’t even have considered it because of the high costs of four-year institutions.
This year, the Dabney Promise is supplementing my scholarship and financial aid to cover tuition and fees in full. It is so rewarding to know that because I am committed to my education, my school is committed to helping me.
Now that I have a Promise scholarship, my stress has gone down because I have an easier time balancing work and school. I will be able to concentrate better and study more because I will spend less time working. I’m taking it one step at a time, but hope to go on to law school to fulfill my lifelong dream.
That’s why I support Heads Up America and more free community college programs around the country. Let’s make the dream of college education a reality for more students, the first time around.