Corey Arvinger, 21, launched his website 4for14000.com to ask the public to help pay for his education at Howard University.
Corey Arvinger didn’t ever expect to drop out of college.
The Greensboro, N.C., native was finishing his fourth semester at Howard University in 2012 when he discovered that he owed the Washington, D.C.-based university $14,000. It came as a surprise to Arvinger, now 21, who had worked hard to improve his GPA after being placed on academic probation his first year.
“I was a point away from meeting the [university’s minimum GPA] standard, basically because my time management was horrible,” he explained. “I was very involved on campus, so I put my organizations before my school work.”
When he was accepted back into the School of Business, where he was vice president of his class freshman year, Arvinger thought his financial-aid status was the same and that his tuition was covered. Through a lack of communication with the university, he and his family were unaware that he had to reapply for financial aid within two weeks.
“I didn’t receive aid the way that I used to because getting accepted to the university and getting financial aid are two different things,” he said.
Arvinger’s mother, a single parent and a graduate of Howard, reapplied for a Parent PLUS loan. Arvinger applied for more loans and scholarships. All were denied.
Arvinger was forced to leave Howard University and Washington, D.C., to live at home.
“There were obligations that I wanted to uphold and I couldn’t because I was leaving,” he said. “I was president of the North Carolina Club. Now they don’t have a president and haven’t had one meeting yet.”
One day at home, Arvinger was browsing his accounts on social media sites and brainstorming ways he could use them to get back to college. He realized that he had almost 4,000 Twitter followers and 10,000 friends on Facebook.
“I thought if I could get 14,000 people to give me $4, then I can get back to school,” he said.
With help from his friend and former resident hall assistant, David Castain, Arvinger created the website 4for14000.com to share his story and ask for donations to pay off his debt and go back to Howard. He hopes that visitors to his site can realize the great impact their small donation will have.
“People go to Starbucks and spend $4 easily, without even thinking about it,” he said. “If you can’t have Starbucks for one day, just one day, and put $4 toward the education of an African American who’s really trying to push to make himself better, then why wouldn’t you help?”
Arvinger knows other colleges would be cheaper to attend than Howard, but refuses to give up on the school he says has provided him with so many opportunities to advance his career and character.
“[My mother] always talked about Howard when I was little and I never really understood what she was talking about,” he said. “Once I decided to go there it was the best decision that I ever made. The atmosphere of Howard and the culture is something unmatched.”
Arvinger currently has raised almost $2,500 on the site and is confident that it will continue to be a success.
“I don’t have any second thoughts about it,” he said. “Whether it takes a year, a semester or two semesters – I’m going to push toward it.”
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