A Massachusetts teenager is using an unorthodox method to raise money for college tuition.
Emily Stutz, 18, of Lowell, Massachusetts, has begun panhandling on the street to raise funds to pay for college, CBS reported. The teen, who is currently a senior at Lowell High School, said she is trying to raise the $20,000 to $30,000 a year that she will need to make her college dreams a reality.
Stutz reportedly stood outside a Target store in Lowell April 16 for her first day of panhandling with a sign that read "H.S. Senior. No $ for college. Anything helps." She said her fundraising efforts were "extremely successful," according to CBS.
The teen also created a GoFundMe page April 14 asking for donations to help pay for college. The page has raised more than $15,000 in four days. The goal of the page is to raise $30,000.
Stutz explained on the fundraising site that she was accepted to all of the colleges that she applied to, but cannot afford the tuition to attend any of them.
The teen wrote that she received $11,000 to $18,000 in merit aid to the private colleges that accepted her but received no additional need-based aid to attend the schools, which would cost more than $50,000 a year. She wrote that she was also accepted to some state universities, but that the latter cost at least $20,000 a year and offered no merit or need-based aid.
She explained that her parents have had "immense financial struggles" and will not be able to help her pay tuition or co-sign a loan.
"I have no other adults in my life who are able to co-sign and I am at a loss," Stutz wrote on the GoFundMe page.
Stutz, who reportedly earned a 4.0-4.5 GPA and worked three jobs during high school, said she wanted to become a doctor. Although she has not yet decided which college she will attend, she plans to study psychology on a pre-med track.
The teen, who posted a picture of herself panhandling outside Target on her fundraising page, said she got the idea from watching panhandlers ask for money at traffic lights.
"If people will give to the 'homeless' panhandlers then maybe they will consider sparing a dollar or some change to an aspiring doctor who has all the academic, but no financial means to attend college," she wrote.
"As an old Tanzanian proverb says, 'Little by little, a little becomes a lot,'" she added.