James Ward was homeless for several years before he got into Howard University. When his Parent PLUS loans were denied just weeks before school started, James thought all hope was lost. He was wrong.

His longtime mentor, Jessica Sutherland, who also grew up homeless, launched a social media campaign with the hashtag #HomelessToHoward on August 7, 2013.

Averaging $2000 in donations per day, the pair raised the money needed for his first year in six days, and the four year loan gap was covered in less than eight weeks.

Now that James is fully funded and thriving in college, Jessica and James plan to use their unexpected place in the spotlight to raise awareness about the barriers to higher education facing our nation’s poorer students, while providing guidance, resources, and assistance to American students who need it most.