A Wichita State University student found help from anonymous angels over Christmas weekend to cover an outstanding tuition bill so he can return to college life.
Kyle Bouman's family in Ferguson, Mo., filed for bankruptcy in September 2010. His father suffered from alcoholism and struggled to get a job. His mother supported the two daughters and Kyle on her salary of about $47,000 a year as a worker for Missouri's Division of Probation and Parole, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported.
Kyle attended DeSmet Jesuit High School in Creve Coeur, Mo., through a work-study program, which shaved $4,000 from the tuition bill of about $11,000.
He started attending Wichita State this year on baseball and academic scholarships. But because he had $12,000 in an unpaid high school tuition bill he still did not have his high school diploma "due to unmet financial obligations" though his friends all graduated in the spring.
When he tried to register for spring classes, the university sent him a startling notice.
"Our records show that we do not have your official eighth-semester high school transcripts. You will not be able to enroll for spring 2012 classes until your file is complete."
The family emailed a request to the high school, asking for the transcript. But the school responded, "At this time, DeSmet is unable to release any form of paperwork due to the outstanding delinquent tuition balance of $12,002.48. Please remit payment in full and we will send out the requested paperwork."
Kyle also needed the transcript for the NCAA to allow him to play baseball. The high school agreed to accept $6,500 to close the bill, but the family could not come up with the money.
"It's really my fault," Albert Bouman, Kyle's father said, told the St. Louis Dispatch. "If I had a job, this wouldn't have happened."
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote about Kyle's story on Dec. 23 and the next day the school confirmed that a group of four families who wished to stay anonymous paid the $6,500 and the school will send the transcripts first thing on Tuesday morning.
The Boumans did not return a request for comment.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said the donors have ties to the Catholic church but not to the high school.
"I think they were people who were simply moved by the Christmas spirit," Rev. Wally Sidney, president of De Smet high school, told the St. Louis Dispatch. Sidney said that another person also offered to pay for the tuition and "a large number" of people offered smaller donations of $20 and $50.
"This made our Christmas," Mary Bouman, Kyle's mother, told the newspaper.
Albert Bouman said he was "very grateful that there are kind people. I'm very grateful to everyone. This has been a heavy burden."