Staying in school through distance learning

julie mcvey

Despite major surgery, divorce and homelessness, Julie McVey kept working toward graduation. K-State Proud made it possible.

Julie McVey is not your typical college student. She’s 31, a single mother and she works full time while carrying a heavy class load. She admits she’s not Superwoman, but she has weathered some difficult times and continues to persevere. McVey, who currently lives in Temple, Texas, credits K-State Proud and the Student Opportunity Award she received with being able to complete her undergraduate degree in social sciences via distance learning.

Just two weeks before classes started, McVey learned she no longer had federal aid. She applied for loans and grants and was denied on all attempts. “I tried to withdraw from my classes and then heard from financial aid to contact K-State Proud. So I did,” McVey said. “I never in a million years thought I would receive an award.”

McVey enrolled at K-State to be closer to her now ex-husband’s family in Olathe, Kan., after the birth of her daughter. Once she arrived in Manhattan, McVey discovered that she had family connections to K-State and the community: A great aunt still lived in Manhattan and her father’s mother was born and raised in Manhattan. McVey also discovered that her father’s parents attended K-State in the 1930s and met while in college. Her grandfather played on the football team and later taught at K-State after returning from the war.

On top of the normal stresses of acquiring a college education, McVey had to deal with a lot of heartache, strife and chaos in her personal and professional lives as well: loss of a loved one, divorce, major surgery, job loss and homelessness. But through it all, McVey kept her dream of graduating from K-State alive. She is now finishing her degree online while working full time at a VA hospital. “Your organization gave me the gift of education and in return, I am turning around and paying it forward to our country through my service as a medical provider,” McVey said. “I will graduate from KSU to honor my grandparents, my daughter and myself. I will give back all that I have ever received through the values of my education and my life experiences.”

“Thank you K-State Proud! I hope that through the expansion of my time at KSU you can see that I have lived through trying times, but I never give up and I have been successful in almost all my semesters and courses. If there are others out there like me, let them know there is help out there,” McVey said. “I simply hope to fulfill my dream of a college degree and give back to this university all it has given me – options and a chance. Thank you forever and always.”

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