Hannah Falk, SUNY Cortland

I’m currently a senior studying international studies and political science at SUNY Cortland. After graduation, I plan to work abroad, specifically in the Australian government.

In order to pay for school, I use financial aid as well as out of pocket payments. I receive both TAP and the Pell Grant to help cover the costs of school, but I also work part-time on campus for 20 hours a week on top of taking 19 credits. I use the money I make working to help pay for groceries, but I also use the student food cupboard on campus.

I pay for textbooks out of pocket with money from working. They’re expensive every semester, and I’m concerned that I won’t graduate on time and will have to pay for even more books all over again. There are classes that I’m required to take that are only offered at specific times, and I still haven’t been able to take them.

College should be accessible to everyone, and by making SUNY fully funded, it will be. Not everyone has the opportunity to attend college and financial aid doesn’t always cover everything, so students are left responsible to pay for the remaining costs. As students, our concern shouldn’t be having enough to eat. We should be focused on our education.

The biggest challenge that I’ve faced as a SUNY student is trying to afford both housing and food. My financial aid doesn’t cover housing because it is all spent on paying for my tuition, so I have to find ways to pay for it myself.