Richard Green graduated from high school 20 years ago, eager to get a college degree in computer science and launch a career.
So when a recruiter from what was then DeVry Institute of Technology told him he could finish his bachelor's degree in three years instead of four, he signed on."You want to be something by a certain time frame," said Green, of Matteson.
But that decision ended up long delaying the independence Green sought.
Green, 38, just this summer went through the graduation ceremony at Prairie State College, a community college in Chicago Heights, posing for a photo in his cap and gown draped in more than a dozen honors medals and stoles.
He is proud of his accolades. But he also says he is on food stamps. He still has two classes to finish to get his degree and juggles school with part-time jobs at GameStop and overnight shifts at 7-Eleven.