For some, education is a given. For others, it takes a little patience and a lot of hard work to make getting an education a reality. Rajesh Rajchal moved to the United States from Nepal in 2008 in order have a better life. After moving to America, Rajesh knew that he needed to receive an education and a better job in order to succeed in his new home. “I have always believed in education,” he said. “Education gives capabilities and confidence.” The idea of pursuing a higher education, however, seemed like a daunting task. “I thought the school cost would be terrible,” Rajesh said. “So I never joined college.”
It wasn’t until he was introduced to the Personal Investment Enterprise (PIE) Program offered by Foothills United Way and Boulder County Community Action Programs, that he finally realized that college could be affordable. The PIE program offers money management training and even training on scholarship applications. It helps those pursuing a higher education to save for tuition and other school related expenses and helps participants earn a four to one match to savings. For example, a participant could receive $132 for every $33 saved.
“After I [received $5,000], I realized that college is affordable,” Rajesh said. The money he saved was able to cover one year’s worth of expenses. When asked to describe the moment when he was able to purchase things he needs for school, he replied: “It was incredible, because I got grants which I never have to pay back. I had enough money to buy my furniture, books and a laptop.”
Rajesh now attends Front Range Community College where he just received certificates in Computer Programming and Geographical Information System. He also works in the school’s IT department, whose team manages over 800 computers and electronic devices such as printers, scanners, monitors, phones and mobile devices. “My dream job is working in the IT field by developing computer programs,” Rajesh said. “At the same time, I always want to share my knowledge and information about technology among students.” Rajesh believes he can achieve this goal by receiving a Computer Science degree and will continue tutoring to gain more experience with teaching.
Without the PIE Program, Rajesh is not sure he would be in college right now. “PIE was a life changing program,” he said. “Before, I thought going to school was impossible [for people] in my family. The PIE program gave me sufficient funds to cover my one year of education, which helped develop my confidence to continue my education.”
“There are many opportunities in the United States,” says Rajesh. “Many people explore these opportunities by themselves and live successful lives. People like me need support for success. PIE is a great way to start!”