I am a senior at Hunter College and a Psychology major. I am a mother of three going back to school now my children are grown up and would like to help young people since when I was young I didn’t have that support. I was at BMCC my first two years and I got my associate’s degree. It was really nice because I didn’t have to worry about the burden of paying for my tuition books and transportation since I had ASAP with an unlimited metrocard and I had an excellent adviser. Unfortunately when I transferred to Hunter I didn’t have the same experience with the advisement. They made me take a class that I already took in BMCC and I felt that the adviser didn’t take me seriously. I had to take that class online with 300 other students and I didn’t learn anything since the professor couldn’t take the time to explain. I think one of the changes that CUNY could benefit from is extending ASAP since it is a great program to hire more advisers that care about students instead of making it more difficult. Fixing the heating system since sometimes the professor had to let us leave because it was too hot and there wasn’t anybody to put the heating down. I think going to university shouldn’t be a struggle and administration should help us to navigate the system.
Posts Tagged ‘FAFSA’
Ines Schmitt, Hunter College
Sylvie Ledain, NYC College of Technology
I began at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in the early 2000s, and applied for FAFSA and Pell. Unfortunately at the time, I did not know what career path I wanted to choose and advisement was not really very helpful with mapping a future goal. It took me almost four years to complete my Associates Degree in Liberal Arts. Unknown to me at the time, the Pell grant offers “no more than 12 terms or the equivalent.” After graduating from BMCC, I began my first legal job at a personal injuries firm. I took a very long time before attending college again, but when I finally did I applied to City Tech with the intention to learn more about the field I was working in. I have been at City Tech since spring 2021 and was recently informed that I am no longer eligible for any Federal financial aid due to my maximum limit being reached. This semester alone has been especially hard due to my brother’s sudden passing and the expenses tied to it, along with being a single mom to a 13 year old boy and having a full time job to pay for living expenses. Paying tuition seems like an unreasonable situation for me. As a current student on the Dean’s List with only one more semester before graduation, it’s disappointing to know that I may not be able to “afford” to finish my degree.
Kendice Marshall, Borough of Manhattan Community College
I am a senior at BMCC and I am majoring in Political Science. I plan on attending a four year college afterwards in order to get a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. I really want to get an education in order to achieve my dream of becoming a lawyer. However, college is extremely expensive and I come from a low income family. My parents are not citizens of the United States which means that I don’t qualify for FASFA or financial aid of any kind. I spend a lot of time looking for scholarships to help my parents pay for my education but it is difficult to get scholarships. So my parents have to pay for my whole education out of pocket. They insist that I do not get a job, so I can focus on my education. This puts them in a stressful situation and they are having a hard time paying for everything. I am a first generation college student and all I want is to get a quality education. If college was free, my parents wouldn’t have to have this financial burden weighing on their shoulders.
Samantha Healey, SUNY Cortland
I am a double major in English and Professional Writing. I transferred to SUNY Cortland in Fall 2020, and am on my last semester. Why Cortland? I’m a homebody and wanted to be able to afford to travel home often. My credits from community college would also transfer well if I picked a SUNY school. Throughout five and a half years of college, I have been able to receive FAFSA, TAP, and Pell Grants. My mom has taken out “Parent Plus” loans for me, and I have taken out loans myself. I’ve had to pay out of pocket a couple semesters to cover the last bit that the government wouldn’t.
Though I have been thankful to not pay as much, I’m still worried about college tuition. As I’ve heard many say, college feels like a scam. You are to pay all this money, but you are not always guaranteed a full-time job right after graduating. You are, however, guaranteed a large sum of student debt. I cannot say I completely disagree. College is highly beneficial in that you grow as a person in more ways than you can count. Yet, it doesn’t always seem worth the money. I’ve seen people graduate, only to find any part-time job that can guarantee them enough to pay off their debt and bills each month.
What’s one thing that can change? The requirements of the Excelsior Scholarship. This is a program that seems reasonable, receiving tuition-free semesters as long as you work in the state for as long as you participate in the program. What the application doesn’t tell you is if you take any time off from school in the time you are completing your degree, you are not eligible. The Excelsior Scholarship came out when I was about to be done with community college. I took a gap year between that and Cortland, to make sure I was pursuing what I genuinely wanted to. I also needed to save up money and secure a more reliable form of transportation. When I started in Cortland, I applied to this program but was denied because I had a break between semesters. It was disheartening, as I knew I’d be a full-time student for the rest of my college career and would really benefit from this program.
I can only hope that the expensive education I have, and will continue, to pay for, pays off. There is still much to do to secure better higher education for all. With this change will come more educated and caring individuals that can have brighter futures, changing the world for the better one degree at a time.
Rafael Fonseca, Borough of Manhattan Community College
I am a Business Management student. This is my last semester at BMCC. I will continue my education to get my bachelor’s degree. I live off campus with my parents. I have received FAFSA and TAP before. It helped me to pay for tuition and books. But I wish that college was free because it’s too expensive. Tuition, textbooks, and transportation makes it expensive. With all these expenses not everyone can afford it. If you were to take less than 4 classes, you don’t get financial aid. I would like FAFSA and TAP to change that so part time students can be eligible for financial aid. The non-eligible for part time students affected me. This semester I took 3 classes to finish my associate degree. I didn’t get FAFSA or TAP to cover the tuition, textbooks, and transportation. I had to pay out of my pocket which was hard for me. As a result of this, I was tight on money. If FAFSA and TAP were provided for part time student. I could have been stress free.
Sajina Shrestha, City College of NY
Sajina is a senior at the City College of New York, majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Journalism. After graduating, she hopes to be a journalist in New York. Sajina receives both TAP and Pell but the award amount has been decreasing every year while the tuition is also increasing. Although her financial aid pays for most of her tuition, she has to rely on her Fellowship awards and pay out of pocket for the rest of the tuition. What makes it even harder to pay or save up for tuition is that her FAFSA never has a clear number of how much she’ll be expected to pay. Inconsistency with FAFSA is a common occurrence among college students and it can be very frustrating to deal with when you don’t know how much to save up. Although her parents also help her pay her tuition, it is becoming difficult for them to pay the increasing cost every year. With increasing tuition costs and decreased award sizes causing financial strains, Sajina has to work while attending classes to stay afloat. With more CUNY funding, Sajina hopes that tuition costs will be lowered and award sizes will be increased.
Angela Shin, Hunter College
I am a senior attending Hunter College. Thankfully, I was eligible for FAFSA and TAP which paid for my college tuition as well as provided me with money for transportation and book fees. However, not everyone is lucky enough to get their tuition paid for. I remember hearing the sad news about people around me not being able to go to their dream college or college at all due to the expensive and constantly rising tuition that could not be easily paid. Not everyone had parents who saved up money for their children’s tuition or had extra money to pay for college. To some students and families, it was already hard to pay rent, phone bills, Wi-Fi bills, or buy food to feed their families. Some of these students could not do loans to create more debt which will burden them more or were not eligible for tuition assistance. I find it so sad that there are people out there that had to give up their dreams, passions, and education due to the cost of tuition. People should not be expected to pay to learn and if they were to pay, it should not cost this much. It is unbelievable that one of the highest debts in America is from student loans.
Although I am grateful to get tuition assistance, I worry that one mistake will take away my financial aid such as not doing well in school, failing a class, or in this case, an error made by the system. I remember being a freshman in college and not knowing how college and financial aid worked. I had filled out FAFSA and TAP but I did not receive my financial aid until the end of the semester. After repeatedly going to the Financial aid and Bursar offices at my school, I found out that due to a mistake made by the system, I could not receive my financial aid. They had never informed me of this issue and it was not until I fixed it that I received financial aid. Due to my tuition being paid late that semester, I had to pay a few hundred dollars out of my own pocket to pay for late fees, textbooks, transportation costs, and etc. I wish there were more things being done to help students feel at ease when receiving financial aid. I think of the many students out there that must have gone through the same problem as me.
Like many of the students, I also help pay for phone bills, water bills, Wi-Fi bills, and etc. Tuition, textbook fees, and transportation are not the only things being paid for with the help of financial aid. To make it worse, transportation fees cost a lot and with things being a one tap system, I cannot save money on transportation fees. I worry that the MTA will increase the price again one day which will become very troubling to me. I want to continue studying psychology so I can one day use my knowledge to help people out. To do so, I will be staying in college for a few more semesters to study. I worry about the cost of tuition as financial aid will not cover me the whole time. I am looking for jobs and have been applying to scholarships to help with my tuition. Therefore, I wish the people in charge of higher education realize that many students out there are worrying about paying for their tuition on top of working hard to study. I hope that they can work more on the funding and make it more accessible to other people who wish to have the opportunity to go to college.
Daniela Medina, City College of NY
Daniela is a freshman at the City College of New York pursuing a degree in Psychology. She hopes to become a psychiatrist after she graduates so she can address the taboos of mental health in her culture and help vulnerable people. Although Daniela is working hard to get her degree, limited financial aid and lack of communications with financial aid advisors is making it hard for her to stay focused. She receives TAP but it is not enough to cover all her expenses, leaving her to pay most of her tuition out of pocket. Daniela’s mother helps her pay her tuition but that is becoming hard since she has 2 younger siblings she also needs to provide for. Daniela also has to dorm on campus since her parents live far from CCNY, and that increases the cost of going to college significantly. To make matters worse, financial aid advisors don’t always answer Daniela’s questions about FAFSA or financial aid packets, making it harder to plan how she will pay her tuition. She has recently applied for loans and is looking to work to pay for her college education.
Hifza Hameed, Brooklyn College
I am a freshman at Brooklyn College. I’m currently undecided. But I hope to major in something that will guarantee a job as soon as possible, so I’ll probably major in something STEM-related. I always knew I had to study and get a higher education so I could be financially independent, move out, and live my life on my own terms.
I currently receive a Pell Grant and TAP. I am the first woman in my family to go to college. I hate the anxiety of filling out my FAFSA when I don’t know how much money I’ll receive. I don’t know why I received less money this year too. The financial aid I receive covers my tuition, textbooks and lab fees. But it does not cover rent, food, and living expenses. I don’t have a job right now but I am looking for one so that I can cover the added expenses of college that people don’t normally consider. I’d never be able to pay rent and pay tuition at the same time. That’s why I still live with my family. TAP should be expanded so that students can better focus on their studies and worry less about the added expenses of education.