Maria Bailon, Hunter College

Understanding my mother’s struggle to get an education, makes it clear that I would not be able to pay for college if I did not qualify for financial aid like the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). Although my mother’s experience differs from mine, I know if she had access to opportunity programs or financial aid to help her pay for education, she would have finished. I recently quit one of the two jobs I had at the beginning of the semester because my jobs were taking a toll on my academic performance. It is stressful to manage time when you constantly must decide on whether you need to work to have money to pay for groceries or to use that time to study for an upcoming exam

As first-generation college students, my mother always encouraged my siblings and I to continue with our education to have a financially stable future, nothing like what we experienced as children. My mother valued the little education she received in her hometown in Mexico, and wished to continue her education as a college student but like most of her neighbors, she had no money for it. Although against all odds, my mother followed her passion to learn and enrolled herself in a public college without any financial support from her parents.. She barely passed the first year and failed the following year; whenever I ask her what held her back from going back to school, she explained the lack of resources. Students should not carry such a financial burden before they are even given the chance to better themselves.