The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t stop Maryam Muhammad from continuing her education. Instead, it gave the mom of five a ‘Fresh Start’ and a renewed interest to head back to the classroom.

After years away from City Colleges of Chicago, last summer, Maryam saw a news segment about the new Fresh Start program, which would relieve her prior debts from classes she dropped back in 2014. She decided to apply and re-enrolled at Malcolm X College for the Spring 2021 semester, taking virtual courses both there and at Harold Washington College throughout the term.

With additional credits under her belt, Maryam was able to transfer to National University to study biomedical science. In addition to working towards her bachelor’s degree, the Southeast Side resident is simultaneously running her own foundation, a nonprofit that supports young mothers by providing them with essential items.

As she helps others find their ‘Fresh Start,’ Maryam is excited to have found a new beginning for herself. Beyond reigniting her education, she enjoyed learning more about credit through the program, saying the credit counseling services that were offered helped her build her savings account and improve her credit score.

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