Lowell, Massachusetts, High School Student Panhandling to Help Pay For College

Emily Stutz, a senior, is hoping to raise enough money to afford medical school

Some call it dedication, others call it dangerous - a Massachusetts teenager is panhandling to help pay for medical school.

Emily Stutz, a senior at Lowell High School, wants to be a doctor. She was accepted to all the schools she applied to, but was not offered enough financial aid to afford attending.

Now, Stutz has taken to the streets to raise money for college tuition. Her efforts are now going viral.

With a white poster board in her hands, it took less than five minutes for the 18-year-old to get a handful of cash and some kind words from a complete stranger.

"I feel bad, I am a senior too, and I just hope the best for you," said Hingham student Jessie Dietsch.

Like her sign says, Stutz is a 4.0 student athlete who works two jobs and volunteers. But even with merit scholarships and financial aid, she says her family still can't afford college.

"Then comes this issue of the loans, my parents can't co-sign, so that's my problem," she explained. "Now I have this huge gap in money and no way of it coming in, so that's why I decided to do what I did."

Outside the Lowell Target, Stutz began panhandling.

"I spent three hours Friday and three hours Saturday," Stutz said.

And despite the mixed reactions from drivers, she raised about $600.

It seems like a lot - until you see her Go Fund Me page, which had raised over $21,000 by 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

"Shocked," Stutz said, laughing. "I never thought it would be like this."

But Stutz admits not everyone's been so kind. She says even her Lowell High classmates have criticized her.

"What I did was controversial, so there's going to be people who support me and people who don't and I understand that," Stutz said.

Good or bad, she's gotten people talking. And while raising money was helpful, Stutz says raising awareness is what this is all about.

"The cost of college is insane, there are so many people in my situation who are forced to chose between going to school and putting themselves in crazy debt, or not going," Stutz said. "It's unfair and I don't think it should be that way.

Stutz applied to eight schools and got into all of them. She says she's still working through all her options before making a final decision.

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