Maine woman, 99, gets college degree 75 years late over $5 fee

This image, provided by, shows 99-year-old Jessie White.

This image, provided by, shows 99-year-old Jessie White.

A 99-year-old Maine woman has graduated from college 75 years after a $5 fee kept her from getting her diploma on time.

Beal College in Bangor awarded Jessie White her degree during a special ceremony on Friday hosted by Alan Stehle, the college's president.

White says the special ceremony was wonderful and a lot of fun.

White was supposed to graduate in 1939, but couldn't afford the $5 transcript fee.

A friend who recently learned of her decades-old predicament called Stehle, who paid her balance and set up the ceremony.

White, a Maine native, received her degree in stenography and bookkeeping.

White suffered a disability from a polio infection, but she persisted until she landed a job and worked for years as a bookkeeper.

"It took me years to get a job because they wouldn't hire me because I was on crutches," White told Fox Bangor. 

Stehle described White's story as one of "perseverance," according to the station. 

White said finally getting her degree made her feel "great."

"Never give up learning. They say when you give up learning you grow old," she told the station. "So I don't intend to give up learning."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.