A Miami, Florida, native, Deritty (Dorthy) Richmond was drawn to SUNY Buffalo State for its fashion merchandising program in the Fashion and Textile Technology Department.
“The tuition was much less than that of fashion programs in New York City, and Buffalo State’s fashion program has a good reputation,” Richmond said.
As a transfer freshman in January 2012, Richmond hoped to graduate in May 2015. However, she took a leave of absence in spring 2013 and feared her dreams for a fashion merchandising career would evaporate. Although she qualified for a Pell Grant, student loans, and work-study jobs, Richmond couldn’t cover all her expenses after a small tuition increase.
“I was running out of money and feeling very discouraged,” said Richmond, who is the youngest of four children of Haitian parents who immigrated to the United States. Paying for college was her responsibility.
Soon after returning to Miami to regroup, Richmond received a call from Buffalo State’s Financial Aid Office. They told her about a brand-new scholarship, Meeting the Gap, which is intended for students in just her situation.
Established in 2012 during the Transforming Lives campaign Meeting the Gap is designed as an emergency scholarship to help students pay for textbooks, fees, and other expenses outside of tuition. It is funded through private contributions from faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the college. Richmond, its first recipient, was awarded a $500 scholarship that enabled her to continue her studies. She is expecting to graduate in December 2015.
Contributions to the Faculty and Staff Appeal make the continuation of scholarships such as Meeting the Gap possible.
“The people in the Financial Aid Office really helped motivate me and figure out my situation,” Richmond said. “I’ve used the scholarship money to pay for books and put toward my apartment costs.”
She also works part time at Macy’s and hopes to someday become a buyer for a company such as Macy’s.
To students who think they can’t afford college, Richmond offered this piece of advice: “Do your research and reach out to people. There is always someone here to help you if you need it. Don’t give up on chasing your dreams.”
To learn how you can assist students such as Richmond, contact Claire Collier at (716) 878-5206. To see a full list of Faculty and Staff Appeal funds, go to giving.buffalostate.edu/facultystaffappeal.