For Kate Koenig, the kindness of strangers may be her only chance to stay at the school of her dreams.
The 19 year-old college sophomore has turned to crowdfunding site GoFundMe in order to scrape together the money to continue her education, after her entire family reportedly cut her off over her pansexual orientation and her relationship with a trans man.
Without a parent or other family member willing to cosign with her for a loan, Koenig started her GoFundMe campaign as a last-ditch effort to remain at the University of Pittsburgh, where she says she spent her first year of school on the Dean's List for academic excellence.
"Going to Pitt is a dream of mine and I couldn't bear the thought of not being able to stay there," Koenig wrote.
In the meantime, Koenig says she'll be attending community college for the first half of next year, with hopes of raising $15,000 in order to return to Pitt for her sophomore spring semester.
Koenig has been updating her page with additional information about the situation since posting her call for help last week, offering backstory about her family life and struggle to have her orientation accepted, and responding to critics who have accused her of lying about her sexuality in order to hoodwink a sympathetic public.
"I am still working diligently to verify my sources so that all of you can feel more secure that you're [sic] donations aren't going to a scam," Koenig continued. "This has been very frustrating for me, and I imagine it has been frustrating for many of you as well. I am eternally grateful to those of you who have supported me thus far and I hope all of you have amazing lives. You have helped put wonderful and positive energy into this world and I hope it comes back to each and every one of you."
As of this writing, Koenig was nearly halfway to her goal, having raised just under $7,500.