Charlotte thought she was all set to graduate from Apex Beauty School at 135th and Lenox in 1979 with a cosmetology license. She had completed her 1000 hours of study and taken all of her classes. She had paid for her tuition with Pell grants and a $2500 loan from the bank that Apex arranged for her. Then Apex shut down. And Charlotte didn’t get her license. “We couldn’t them, they just disappeared.” Charlotte had a child and a lot of responsibilities. She got in touch with the bank that held her loan and deferred it until she received her license. But she never did, Apex had gone out of business for good and they never issued licenses again, and didn’t refund any money.
Thirty five years later Charlotte went back to get her high school equivalency degree and decided she wanted to go to college. She had good credit but when she applied for financial aid for college she was denied. The $2500 loan she had taken out to pay for the cosmetology license she never received had nearly tripled. Charlotte won’t be able to receive financial aid until she repays it. On a fixed income this won’t be possible anytime soon. While Charlotte is working with financial counselors on having her debt forgiven, she’s applying for the Iron Maidens Stay Strong Scholarship to help her pay for her first year of college.
“I want to be a counselor working with young men in my community,” she says. “There’s a serious need and I want to be a force for positive change. No matter what it takes I’m going to do it.”