Sarema graduated from high school in 2010 and received the Adams Scholarship as a result of her strong performance on MCAS.  The scholarship covered the full tuition at the state school she enrolled in, but the costs of books and housing piled up.  Sarema moved back home and spent more than two hours per day traveling to and from school.  After completing two and a half semesters, she withdrew to get a job.

Since then, Sarema has worked on the floor at RadioShack, as a telemarketer, and in a cafeteria.  She is also the single mother of a two-year old daughter.

Sarema heard about Match Beyond through friends.  She reached out to a coach to learn more and, in January 2015, began her studies.

Why did you enroll in Match Beyond?

I want my daughter to know that there’s never an excuse not to follow your dreams. 

I knew I wanted to go back to school.  I had looked at enrolling in trade school, but the program would have cost me $19,000, and I was still repaying loans from my time in college.  

I was ecstatic when I discovered that the Pell grant would cover all the costs of Match Beyond.  Match Beyond is a pathway to get a solid education, pay nothing now, and owe nothing later. 

How does Match Beyond fit into your life?

Some people can focus just on school, but I can’t.  I live alone with my daughter, I have a home to take care of, I have bills to pay, and I have a job.

Match Beyond is so flexible.  Anytime I have 30-40 minutes, I can make progress—even on the train or during breaks at work.  

What has it been like having a coach?

When I had gone to college before, I had no one.  I realized that I do need a person to encourage me, make sure I’m focused, help me when I’m feeling pressured.  That's what my coach does.

My coach makes sure there is absolutely no excuse as to why I can’t attend study and make progress.  He arranges transportation for me to get to study groups. My coach helped me get a wifi hotspot for my home so that I could study at home when my daughter was sleeping, and he connected me with a program that provides free childcare for my daughter for four hours per week so I can study.

Why is it important to you to earn a college degree?

I’m an amazing cook.  I’ve always cooked for lots of people.  I realized that I needed to go back to school so I can get the tools I need to open my own business.  I really want to make my family proud and my daughter proud.  I also want to be able to make myself proud.  I want to create a business I can pass on.

What do you tell others about Match Beyond?

I am a real person.  I have bills.  I have to take care of a child.  It’s not easy, but Match Beyond makes it possible.  You get an education.  Nowadays, you’re not going to get any good job without an education.  I don’t see why anybody wouldn’t do Match Beyond.