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Posts Tagged ‘ASAP’

Suraiya Priyanka, Hunter College

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I am a second semester freshman at Hunter College and currently undeclared because I’m narrowing down which major interests me most. I am trying to graduate college as soon as possible, which means I have to take 15 credits per semester, but that is very difficult when you also have to work and support your parents. I receive financial aid from TAP and Excelsior, but that only covers my tuition and Excelsior only gives me a few hundred dollars. I considered applying for ASAP since it would’ve been very helpful to me, but it is not offered at my college. I have to pay for my other expenses including textbooks, food, and transportation.

In my four people household, my dad is the only one that works full time and I work a part time job two days a week. If I decided to prioritize earning money and worked a couple extra days, I wouldn’t be able to focus on school and graduate on time. I already struggle to pay for food, textbooks, and transportation so if I didn’t receive aid to cover my tuition, I would not be able to go to college at all. In high school, I didn’t have to worry about all these things and all of a sudden, with all of this pressure being put on me, I constantly find myself trying to balance school and work and am left with no time to relax. Taking 5 classes every semester and also working is too much to handle and as a result, I am concerned that I won’t be able to do well in school or graduate on time.

We need a fully funded CUNY because many students depend on it. New York City is filled with low-income students and families who choose CUNY because it is advertised as a more affordable option, when in reality it is not. So far, my biggest challenge with being a CUNY student has been financial aid. If all my college expenses were paid for and covered by the government, I would be able to focus a lot more on my education and not have to stress about my finances. CUNY needs to be free again because New Yorkers need free public college now more than ever before.

Ariana Hernandez, College of Staten Island

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I am currently a sophomore in my second semester majoring in psychology at the College of Staten Island and I am worried about actually graduating on time with the problems I’ve had with my financial aid. Last semester I received aid from TAP and Pell; however, my financial aid has been taken away from me now. I decided to change my major a few months ago, and, despite being told that this would not affect my financial aid, I got a notice at the start of the semester that there weren’t enough credits for financial aid to cover me. This left other financial opportunity programs such as Excelsior, ASAP, and SEEK out of my reach as well. Right now, my parents are paying out of pocket to keep me in college, and sooner or later we might have to start taking out student loans, which I really don’t want to do. In addition, I might not even have enough credits to graduate on time, and I think winter and summer courses are going to be a massive toll on me, financially and mentally. The fact that programs like TAP are not offered to winter and summer students leaves me stuck between not wanting to become a financial burden on my family and wanting to graduate as quickly as possible. The financial burden of living expenses such as textbooks, utilities, and food on campus really impacts what I’m going to do in the future. I believe a fully funded CUNY could give passionate and driven students the opportunity to attend and graduate from college without having to worry about the costs. I want a higher quality education in New York, so that everyone has a chance to plan for their dream job in the future.

Monique Ritchie, Queensborough Community College

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South African leader Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon in which you can use to change the world”. Since I started my education at Queensborough Community College in Fall 2016, I’ve realized my growth and the importance of having a college degree. In the future, I would like to become an attorney, to advocate justice for those less fortunate.

Currently, I’m enrolled in the ASAP program and I am a TAP and Pell recipient. I could not imagine coming to school without financial aid and opportunity programs that help support and pay for my schooling. Without these I would probably be more focused on working long hours to pay off tuition, than on classes and experiences that would be beneficial to my career later on. I want tuition hikes to be ended and higher education in New York to be fully funded so everyone will have the chance to get a fair education and further themselves like I am.

Keith Thiyagarajah, New York City College of Technology

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I am a Sophomore studying Computer Engineering.  I am a part of  the ASAP program.  I work at a restaurant 30 hours a week.  I get an $875 voucher for textbooks and materials for school.  Some semesters I max out.  My job pays for food. 

It’s hard to balance work and school.  I sleep 2-3 hours.  ASAP gives me priority registration, that’s how I’m able to work 30 hours/week.  I can plan my class schedule around work. 

College should be free and available for everyone.  A lot of people want to go to college, but they can’t because they have to work to support their family and kids!  My biggest challenge is sleep and transportation.  There’s no parking near my school and the F train is always having problems.

Tyrell Lewis, Bronx Community College

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I was a General Education major at Bronx Community College. I wasn’t able to graduate and needed to get a full time job. I couldn’t do both. I had participated in the workstudy program but I wasn’t making enough. I had to pay rent, food, cable, and utilities. I was awarded a partial Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) award and the Pell Grant.

I found out about ASAP too late, but if I had known about it, I would have applied to it for the tutoring to bring my grades up! I wanted it for the tutoring. Everyone should have ASAP. While I was at BCC I received SNAP assistance. The transition from high school to college was really horrible. Textbooks were the biggest cost. I couldn’t keep up with my studies because I couldn’t afford the materials, and this is when I was receiving TAP and Pell. Pell helped for some but I also had to pay for all of my living expenses it was way too much.

Momodou Jallow, Bronx Community College

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I am a first semester freshman at Bronx Community College from The Gambia looking to study International Relations.  I have four children, and my wife and I are both in school and have to work to support our family.  I drive a cab as a way to earn money.  I wouldn’t be able to go to school without the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), the Pell Grant and the ASAP program.

I am planning to go to a four year college and am worried because I won’t have ASAP for my bachelors.  I will continue to get Pell and TAP.  But if NY isn’t giving secure funding for more course offerings, it is unclear if I’ll have the courses available to ensure that I graduate on time.  Since I have a family to support, there is no way I will be able to afford to pay out of pocket if I run out of financial aid. This is why I we must have a Maintenance of Effort from our state government.

 

Fatima Siddiqi, Queensborough Community College

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I am a freshman studying liberal arts.  I receive TAP and the Pell Grant and I am part of ASAP.  I use Pell to help pay for the bills since I live with my mom.  I would like to go to Brooklyn Institute to be a sonographer.  I think I am going to have to take out loans for my bachelors.  I used to work, but I am taking 17 credits this semester.  I used to work on weekends when I took 12 credits which would be the maximum amount of credits I’d want to take while having a job.  If I didn’t receive financial aid I’d have to take out a loan.

Katherine Palma, Queensborough Community College

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I am a sophomore studying criminal justice that wants to go to John Jay. I receive the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)award and the Pell Grant and I am part of the ASAP program.  Since ASAP covers textbooks and metrocard, I can use Pell for food and other bills. I also have a paid internship with a cadet which helps me pay for some of the textbooks that don’t get covered through ASAP.  I am the first person in my family to go to college, my family is from Ecuador.  If I didn’t get financial aid I would have gone to the army because they pay for college.  I was part of CUNY Start originally and it helped me get through remedial classes by offering textbooks and advisers for much cheaper.    I would have liked to be in the ACE program at John Jay but it doesn’t cover transfer students.  I will probably rent textbooks when I transfer.  I’ve been looking for internships for credit so that I graduate on time at John Jay and don’t run out of my financial aid.

Anny Mariano, Queensborough Community College

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I am a freshman psychology major. I would like to eventually work at a school and work with teenagers or do social work. I receive the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and the Pell Grant and I am looking for a job to pay for the bus, food and clothes. I didn’t qualify for ASAP because they said I had too many remedial courses. But I had taken those classes in the summer already. When I went to try again to appeal, the spots in ASAP were already filled up. If I was able to get into ASAP I would get my metrocard covered which would be a huge help. I am the first person in my family to go to college. My family and I are from the Dominican Republic. If I didn’t get financial aid I’d have to take out loans. I am trying to work to save money in case there is a semester that I don’t get enough financial aid.

Santana Alvarado, Bronx Community College

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My first two semesters at Bronx Community College, I didn’t qualify for financial aid, even though my family lives on only my mother’s income and there are five of us at home with two of my siblings away for college. But, then I enrolled in the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), which has been a blessing for me.  The cost of textbooks and a MetroCard is just too much, especially when multiple people are in college at the same time. I remember I was on my way to the financial aid office with the loan application form for Spring 2017 filled out, when I stopped to ask my ASAP advisor a question. I brought up taking out a loan, but she told me that because I qualified for partial Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funding, ASAP would cover the rest. I texted my mom in the office that I had great news. After I spoke to her I felt like I was going to burst out in tears because I was so relieved and blessed, like I had been stopped on my way to making a deal with the devil.

College is a time to be challenged but paying for it shouldn’t be the main stressor. At times, it consumes my thoughts and leaves with me with an anxiety about my education and future, when I want to focus on the hope and excitement of earning a degree. There needs to be a change so that the burden of student debt can be lifted from students. We’re the future, after all.