Help Send Me to School!

My mission for my education is to acquire and integrate all the most essential skills and knowledge areas necessary to become a proficient, responsible, and visionary leader in the healthcare and public health sectors.

I’m facing several obstacles as I return to college, including overcoming a gap of several years since my last college experience, as well as recovery from chronic poverty/housing instability. However, I’ve now wanted this particular degree in healthcare administration for longer than it will take for me to earn it, and the time has come for me to solve the logistical puzzle and finally achieve this goal. I have important work to do in the healthcare sphere, and this education will prepare me well for it. Read on to learn what I intend to study, and how you can help!

Academic Strategy & Costs

AS from Community College of Denver | ≈ Summer/Fall 2020-Summer/Fall 2021

  • Transferring 9 credit hours from previous college experience in 2008

  • Completing 4 CLEP tests for 22 hours of credit (≈$450)

  • Completing 33 hours of credit in classes on CCD campus (≈$7,000 tuition/fees/materials)

BS in Healthcare Administration and Management from CSU Global with specialization | ≈ Fall 2021-2024

  • Completing 36 hours/12 courses on CSU Global online campus ($350 tuition per credit hour, minus 10% tuition discount for transferring a degree from CCD: total $11,340)

  • Completing 24 hours/8 courses as self-study ($250 per course, grants two test attempts: total $2000)

  • The CSU Global website provides an estimate of ≈$2800 total for course materials for this BS program. (There are no other additional fees or costs associated with attendance.)

Total cost in tuition, fees, and materials to achieve my BS in Healthcare Administration and Management: $23,590

Financial Strategy

I will be taking out Federal student loans, but doing the most I can to minimize what needs to be borrowed. As indicated in the strategy summary above, I’m reducing costs significantly by utilizing self-study/test-out alternatives, and also taking advantage of a tuition discount at CSU Global (which is already fabulously affordable) by using CCD for my pre-transfer degree.

I’m also making regular contributions to, and soliciting donations for, my 529 plan. A 529 is a state-sponsored dedicated investment account, the funds from which must be committed to educational expenses. Because my funds are meant to be used within the next few years, I have the CollegeInvest Stable Value Plus plan.

Anyone can contribute to my 529 via Ugift* by clicking this link and entering my code D3X-33F, or by sending a check with account number 50031248 in the memo field to CollegeInvest, 1600 Broadway Suite 2300, Denver, CO 80202. The minimum contribution amount required by this plan is $25.

Contributions are deductible from taxable income for all Colorado residents; some residents of other states may receive certain tax benefits for contributions as well. Please consult your tax advisor for elaboration.

*Note: Student information attached to my 529 will reflect my legal name, Tanith Murphy-Bixby.

My 529 plan will be used to pay toward, in order:

  • Tuition expenses (or loan debt for tuition expenses) for the above programs

  • Fees for CLEP tests and self-study/test-out courses associated with the above programs

  • Books, fees, and essential supplies for the above programs

  • Supplementary education-specific expenses authorized in the Colorado’s terms for 529 funds, as needed to complete degree

If I should be so fortunate as to have scholarship awards and 529 contributions add up significantly, with the end result of there being a surplus of funds after my educational expenses are covered, then any remaining balance will be forwarded into a new Colorado 529 plan for another ambitious, motivated, unhoused/housing-insecure or ex-unhoused/housing-insecure individual with a passion for helping people in need.

Thank you so, so much to all who consider donating!

If you are contributing or have previously done so, and are open to revealing your identity so that I may send you a thank-you note, you are enthusiastically invited to fill out this Google form so that I may contact you. Thank you so much for your kindness!

Who Am I, Why Does It Matter That I Earn This Degree, & Why Do I Need Your Help?


I’m Emerald Bixby. (At least, that’s what I’ve gone by for well over a decade; it’s nice to be a real word!) I grew up in Denver, Colorado, with a severely autistic older brother, wildlife rehab in the backyard, and a chip on my shoulder about standing up for the underserved and unheard. Since I was raised on Medicaid at a time when obtaining services for my brother was very difficult, healthcare advocacy has been a formative part of my life for my entire living memory. Additionally, I’ve experienced multiple periods of homelessness and housing insecurity, and helping other individuals in that community is a large part of my identity.

I’m freshly recovering from a long interval of those struggles, and although I’m on a great track now and in a transitional/temporary housing situation, I’m not out of the woods yet in terms of life logistics. Right now I earn my living with assorted creative freelancing, after a nerve issue in one hand disabled me from my massage therapy career-stage in early 2018. My current trajectory allows me to maintain cruising altitude, in terms of survival and committing time to my education, over the next few years. However, my past and present position means I’ll be spending easily a decade or longer on building basic savings, recovering from sticky debts, investing in long overdue medical/behavioral/dental health needs, and generally healing my life. Minimum loan payments, which will be manageable at best, won’t get me far for a very long time. While I’m mitigating all of these variables, I need to practice realism and humility, and I need to seek every kind of help there is in order to reduce my debts and expenses as much as possible — especially when it comes to facilitating important investments like college.

I was fortunate as a young adult to follow my passions for clinical medicine by leaping directly into trades, most notably in the contexts of performing administrative and veterinary assistant work in an animal hospital, and working for several years as a highly effective medical massage therapist. Because of my blended background, and my time spent in roles on both sides of the medical reception desk, I have been lucky to gain unique insight into the nuances of how social determinants of health impact disadvantaged communities, as well as a deep understanding of how those in clinical roles and in public outreach roles can best address these need areas.

For nearly a decade, I’ve known with absolute certainty that I want to be a leader in healthcare administration. Through the first stages of my career, I became highly proficient with client education and client compliance, and I’ve witnessed firsthand (and done a lot of studying about) how these two things transform a patient’s entire healthcare experience, and thus their lifelong health. I have a special interest in the last-mile problem as it metaphorically applies to getting patients to commit that final bit of buy-in about their care, and in my experience, client education makes the crucial difference. When clients are literate in the physiological and logical context that surrounds their care directives, they have greater trust in their clinicians, and they adhere better to regimens, which results in radically improved prophylaxis, and ultimately lowered costs of care. This is scientifically known to be true, and clinicians and administrators are already developing and implementing these vital strides in the right direction. I’m ready to contribute to the changing tide. I have a duty to bring my experiences and ideas to the table, and I am deeply invested in helping the healthcare and public health fields make great strides in clinical patient education and public health education respectively.

I’ve spent the last decade continuously self-educating online about business, leadership, medical administration, healthcare policy, and public health. However, in order to position myself to follow my plans, launch my healthcare education businesses, and disrupt the industry, I need more comprehensive education and training. I’ve never had a real reason before to obtain a college degree — simply talking my way into a field and learning directly from individuals has always been more my style — but now, I specifically need, and truly want, every bit of information that every course in a healthcare administration degree will offer me.

I couldn’t be more excited, and I’m infinitely grateful to be able to finally start this leg of my journey. I sincerely hope that those who are able to help are moved to consider doing so. If you have any questions, or want to know more about the gigs I’m doing for work right now and other logistical variables surrounding my progress, I’m an open book and happy to be approached, so please feel free to reach out to me on any platform. To stay updated on my work in the future, subscribe to my quarterly email newsletter.

Thank you for your interest in my site, and in reading about who I am and what I’m setting out to accomplish. I hope that you consider helping me achieve my dreams, and above all, I hope that my relentless optimism and resilience inspires you to work on your goals too!

“Do not ask what the world needs. Ask instead what makes you come alive, and then go and do that — because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

- Howard Thurman

Scholarship Plans

Check back for further developments! I’m currently narrowing down and prioritizing scholarships to apply for, from a list of about 150 options I’ve researched so far.

In the interest of full transparency, and also to help other students in similar positions to find scholarships that could help them as well, I’ll publish here a table of my scholarship lists/plans/awards.

(I’ll also soon be publishing a page specifically for scholarships consideration, featuring a general essay and a more in-depth profile of my experience and suitability for academic assistance.)