With 18 subjects firmly under her belt, 19-year-old Trichel Williams’ goal of attending Howard University did not appear far from her reach, but like many young Jamaican graduates, she has found it difficult to acquire the pricey tuition fee that looms over their heads as a nearly impenetrable wall.
Founded over 150 years ago, Howard University has established itself as one of the most prestigious historically black universities in the United States, with notable alumni, such as Kamala Harris, vice president of the United States, and record executive Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs. In a recent interview, Williams shared with the Jamaica Star her excitement at finding out about her acceptance at Howard and the challenges she has faced.
The Wolmer’s Girl School graduate received her acceptance letter via email while at the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships (CHAMPS) and was so nervous a friend had to read it for her. She had attained a coveted spot at the distinguished university and even a partial scholarship of US$28,000 (approximately J$4.2 million). Williams explained to the Star that she was aware of her financial situation and had hoped for a full scholarship that would cover the US$51,000 tuition. Unable to raise the over J$3 million that was needed, Williams deferred for a semester.
With hopes of still attending Howard to study chemical engineering, the teen has launched a GofundMe campaign entitled Help Trichel Make Her Dream A Reality. Williams resides in Portmore with her mother, who is a minimum-wage worker. The 19-year-old says she has pursued several avenues, such as reaching out to family members and seeking loans from financial institutions, but all attempts were fruitless.
“Throughout my entire childhood, I’ve always learnt that education is the key, but I don’t think it really is the key out of poverty because now I have the education, but I am still unable to get a higher education because I don’t have any money,” Willams told the Star, and added, “if you don’t have the money, you won’t be able to move on. I have 18 subjects, and I’m still unable to get a higher education at a very good university because I don’t have the money, and even though I’ve tried all of those different options, it just wasn’t working, so I feel very devastated.”
The teen remains hopeful that there are individuals who can and are willing to help. The GofundMe campaign can be found at https://gofund.me/97ff6e05 and has raised US$765 of the required US$23,153 thus far.