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70-year-old PhD student threatened with deportation after signing up for online course
THE WOODLANDS, Texas (KTRK) – Betty Harper met an ABC13 team at her front door on Wednesday in a walker, still recovering from back surgery she had last fall accompanied by a stroke she said she suffered earlier in the year.

The 70-year-old refuses to let all of this slow her down, saying she is just one class away from getting her doctorate.

“You can do whatever you want to do,” Harper said. “I’ve always wanted my PhD and had to wait until my kids graduate from college and my grandchildren to be able to help them.”

Finally, it was his turn. The retired special education teacher said she wanted to keep her mind active.

Five years ago, she enrolled in an online program at Northcentral University, working slowly but diligently to achieve her goal.

“I’m on the Dean’s List,” Harper said with a sense of pride.

Now, months before she is about to graduate, instead of celebrating a milestone, she worries about her housing. She told Eyewitness News that she received a call from an employee at her apartment complex in The Woodlands area called Fawn Ridge Apartments.

“[They] called me and told me I had 30 days to move, ”said Harper.

The grandmother said a worker told her that because she was a full-time student she was no longer eligible for her HUD housing assistance.

“And I said to him, ‘I’m only taking one class. How can that be full-time? I’m just a part-time student,'” recalls Harper.

ABC13 tried speaking to employees at Fawn Ridge Apartments to clear up what appears to be a misunderstanding, but they declined to comment.

We also reached out to Alabama-based property management company Envolve LLC, but received no response.

A legal expert said HUD housing does not allow an entire unit to be occupied by full-time students. The restriction was put in place to avoid dormitory accommodation and does not seem to apply to this great-grandmother.

“If I was kicked out at this point, I don’t have the funds to relocate,” Harper said.

ABC13 will continue to search for answers for future Dr Betty Harper.

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