Lamar University student and Port Arthur native Julio Delgado turns to GoFundMe, change.org for help getting his transcript and continuing his education

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Julio Delgado plans to be the president of Lamar University within the next 30 years.

He seemed to be on the right track after receiving the Gates Millennium Scholarship, which covers tuition for up to five years of undergraduate, two years of graduate and four years of doctorate.

However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, like most students, Delgado, a Port Arthur native, struggled to transition to virtual classes and considered taking time off.

The decision was quickly made for him when he and his two brothers contracted COVID-19. On August 31, 2021, his 16-year-old brother Isaías died from viral complications.


“At this point it wasn’t a decision to go back or not,” Delgado said. “At that time, I knew for a fact that I had to take time. My mother was going to need time to grieve. She was going to need time to deal with the loss of a child.”

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Delgado, who has been preparing for her baccalaureate since 2016, has completed five years of undergraduate coursework and has one year left.

Since taking a year off, Delgado has had to postpone his scholarship until he is able to return to class. But now an outstanding balance of $7,500 related to the uncompleted 2021 semester prevents him from receiving the transcript he needs to defer the scholarship until he restores funding as a graduate student.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation granted the first-generation student a pardon for his transcript, but he must have it by July 14.

Delgado said the foundation told him “if by July 14 we don’t hear from you or if you don’t have this official transcript, there is a huge possibility that you will lose all future funding.” .

He said he wasn’t asking the school to forgive the balance, he just needed more time to collect it and didn’t want to lose his scholarship in the meantime.

So he tried to do everything in his power to get his transcripts and avoid losing funding for masters and doctoral courses – something only 45% and 19% of first-grade college graduates achieved, respectively. generation, according to data from the Center for First Generation Student Success. These moves have included reaching out to Lamar University and private loan offices.

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In October 2021, Delgado sent a letter and email to Lamar University President Jamie Taylor asking for help obtaining his transcript.

“I am not asking for my balance to be forgiven as I intend to pay the school every penny it is owed,” Delgado wrote in his letter. “I’m just asking you to plead on my behalf. I’m asking that there be an exception so I can get my official transcript even though I owe a balance.”

Taylor responded a week later saying he would look into the matter and get back to Delgado. Eight months later, Delgado has still not received a response.

“Please allow me some time to review your situation and I will respond as soon as possible,” Taylor wrote in response to Delgado’s email.

The Beaumont Company contacted Taylor and his office for a statement. The only response received was an automated response saying Taylor would be out until July 15 — the day after Delgado is due to provide his transcript to the foundation — despite having email access.

Delgado has also attempted to obtain private loans to pay his outstanding balance, but the fees fall outside accepted parameters.

“I have patiently waited for months as I am aware that other items on his agenda may be more important and have more impact,” reads Delgado’s change.org petition. “For that reason, I didn’t apply a lot of pressure on the matter.”

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But he’s almost out of time.

Recently, Delgado took matters into his own hands and started a Go Fund Me to raise the outstanding balance and a change.org petition to convince Lamar to give him his transcript.

Delgado said he couldn’t just lose his scholarship without trying to save it. For him, the situation reminds him of Hamilton’s song “My Shot”.

“When you have that opportunity and you see it slip through your fingers, it’s like, no, I have to do something about it,” Delgado said. “I can’t waste my shot.”

Delgado said even looking at the situation from a business perspective doesn’t make sense.

“Before spring 2021, the university received $80,000 in my name through this scholarship provider,” Delgado said. like a short-sighted decision to make.”

Regardless of whether he is able to keep his scholarship, Delgado said he will find a way to obtain and pay for his further education. so he can come back to Lamar University and make a difference.

“While I may not be a priority for Lamar University, Lamar University is a priority of mine,” reads Delgado’s change.org petition. “It is my dream to one day be able to return to Southeast Texas and serve Lamar University as University President. As a first-generation, non-traditional, LatinX, Indigenous, and neurodivergent student , I aspire to become a resource for all those who wish to pursue an education despite the presence of what could be considered failures.”

courtney.pedersen@beaumontenterprise.com

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