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With the cost of college rising every year, access to higher education is a privilege few can afford.

The average price of a four-year in-state university in the 2018-2019 academic year, including tuition, fees, room, and board, is $21,370, and $37,430 for those who attend an out of state school. If you're looking to study at a private institution, that cost is $48,510, according to CollegeBoard. Those who do attend often leave with a burden of debt, which was around $37,172 in 2017, Debt.org reports.

While these exorbitant prices are the reason many students can't attend college, one man in Iowa made sure 33 people in his home state could get a higher education, debt-free.

Dale Schroeder, a carpenter from Ames who worked at the same company for 67 years, went to his lawyer and friend, Steve Nielsen, before he died in 2005 with specific instructions to use his money to help send small-town local students to college.

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Courtesy of Back on My Feet
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Having graduated in the top 10% of Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) cadets nationwide in 2012, Pat Robinson was ready to take on a career in the Air Force full speed ahead.

Despite her stellar performance in the classroom and training grounds, Robinson feared other habits she'd picked up at Ohio University had sent her down the wrong tracks.

First stationed near Panama City, Florida, Robinson became reliant on alcohol while serving as an air battle manager student. After barnstorming through Atlanta's nightclubs on New Year's Eve, Robinson failed a drug test and lied to her commanding officer about the results.

Eleven months later, she was dismissed. Feeling ashamed and directionless, Robinson briefly returned home to Cleveland before venturing west to look for work in San Francisco.

After a brief stint working at a paint store, Robinson found herself without a source of income and was relegated to living in her car. Robinson's garbage can soon became littered with parking tickets and her car was towed. Golden Gate Park's cool grass soon replaced her bed.

"My substance abuse spiraled very quickly," Robinson said. "You name it, I probably used it. Very quickly I contracted HIV and Hepatitis C. I was arrested again and again and was finally charged and sentenced to substance abuse treatment."

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