Aaliyah Elliott, Buffalo State College

My higher education is partly covered by financial aid through TAP, and then my dad pays the rest out of pocket. TAP has paid for a substantial amount of my tuition but there’s still so much more than can be done to help. My family must pay well over three thousand dollars out of pocket while still paying for my younger sister’s schooling plus all of my basic necessities. There is a huge burden of paying thousands of dollars for both me and my sister and living expenses that we are not able to pay for yet while still having to take care of themselves and being responsible for prior commitments like rent, food, and other needs that are vital to an education. I’ve also had to take out several loans each semester that I will be responsible for paying off once I graduate, which is not exactly what I’m looking forward to. Students should not have to start their life out of college in debt automatically. The state should do more to make it easier for students to obtain an education and not be in debt once they graduate.