Posts Tagged ‘childcare’

Alexis Ramos, Borough of Manhattan Community College

I am majoring in political science and theater, and aim to be a senator or mayor. I believe tuition and other costs to attend CUNY and SUNY schools should be state funded. I started college right after getting my GED. When I started to look into schools, I was worried I couldn’t afford it.  A huge obstacle was figuring out where my 2 year old son would go while I was in school. My mother was too old and sick to take care of him and I didn’t have any other family members around me so I felt stuck. My only option was to look for daycare but the prices were way too expensive. I felt like I would be drowning in debt and costs of tuition and childcare. I enrolled at BMCC since it had a childcare center. I decided to do 5 courses in order to qualify for full financial aid.

Luckily, because of the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), the Pell Grant, and the publicly funded childcare center at BMCC, I was able to afford to attend college. Textbooks and my monthly metrocard were a huge burden for me this year, though.  Luckily I’ve enrolled in Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) for next year so those costs will be covered. I have a part time job that covers these costs currently, but between textbooks, metrocards, and paying for diapers and food for my son, I often can’t afford to buy food for myself. I’m determined to get an education, failure is not an option but it’s come at a cost to my health.

Sapphire Garris, Borough of Manhattan Community College

Part of my tuition is covered through the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and the rest of my costs are paid out of pocket. This includes textbooks, transportation and additional online fees to access homework assignments for certain courses. I’m a 25 year old mother of a 1 year old son. Gratefully, I managed to find a job on campus, through the COPE program (now called CUNY EDGE, Educate, Develop, Graduate, and Empower) which also pays for his daycare. This allows me to maintain some financial stability for my growing family.

Just like many other students, I cannot afford to pay for all of these costs. Last semester, before I was enrolled in EDGE, I had trouble registering for classes because I had a hold on my account from the Bursar’s office. The balance was $1,050 and I hadn’t gotten any notification that my financial aid wasn’t covering my full tuition. I was required to pay the entire balance before the first day of class. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place! I had to find a way to be able to pay this full amount in such a short amount of time. Eventually I had to ask my family, who were experiencing their own financial burdens. The stress had become overwhelming and it was very hard to stay focused during finals week! I needed help and there was no one to help me. Luckily, now I have a job through the EDGE program which allows me to pay for my tuition, and all other expenses.