Posts Tagged ‘financial aid’

Ankush Gaba, Queensborough Community College

I am studying Business Administration at Queensborough Community College, and I want to pursue accounting in the future. This is my second year, and I am graduating in Fall 2020. I’m currently in ASAP and they help cover some expenses and books, but I don’t receive any financial aid and pay out of pocket for tuition during the summer or winter sessions. Because of COVID-19 I haven’t been able to work for a month, but I still have to pay off my bills and help support my family. 

I am an immigrant. The only way I can pay for this college is by working and working too much. I have to deal with my travel expenses, meals, and then my tuition or textbook expenses. I work three jobs to get myself going and also help my family financially too as we are here to make our future. A fully funded CUNY would take a big load of stress off of me and my family, and would especially help immigrant families who are trying to save as much as they can to have a secure and better future. 

Being QCC’s Student Government President I think if people didn’t have to worry about paying for college, they could have more time to study or get involved with campus life and opportunities, rather than running to work right after class.

Henry Fernberger, Hunter College

I’m a senior at Hunter College studying Ancient Greek and Latin. I was part of a Greek / Latin scholarship program, a little known one but also out of pocket. I do film editing on the side and edited some short videos. I didn’t receive the Pell Grant or TAP. The scholarship helped a lot. I don’t receive any additional help. 

I was lucky enough to have been able to live with my parents during college. I don’t have to pay rent so it allows me to devote my income towards school so I’m lucky in that way. I do not receive SNAP. I try to eat at home which also allows me to save money. 

I’m pretty independent so I’m not in the worst situation, and you know it’s tough because you really have to be careful. Hunter is pretty difficult and you have to make sure you get your classes done because before you know it, you can tack on more classes for your degree. It’s pretty common for a lot of students to make those mistakes because of no contact with an advisor. 1 advisor for every 1000 students and the ratio might be more than that. I never saw my advisor. 

My parents had gone to college, so it was a little bit easier for me to navigate but for some people who are the first students to navigate alone might not be easy. There’s more steps they have to take. I could be a bunch of steps back in my degree trying to catch up. 

We need to decide whether or not we want to live in a society where we value educated people we can show that by giving access to education for everybody. By every metric, an educated population means growth and prosperity for the society. For every dollar invested into education, it creates $8 more, and it creates a skilled and valuable population. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be funding college. Look at our primary and secondary school, they pay for school up until high school. We have these great support systems for students who are underserved but then suddenly all those support systems fall by the wayside until they have a degree or a job that can MAYBE pull them out of poverty. It’s unconscionable that we can live in a society where people aren’t given tools that can provide a nice life for their family.”

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. 

Rohan, Pratt Institute

I’m from New Delhi, India, and I’m wrapping up my first year as a freshman at Pratt. My dream has always been to go to film school, and there were no art schools that had good film programs in my home country of India. I applied to 10 schools in the United States. I was thrilled to be accepted to Pratt because of its film program, but it also meant that to go would result in an economic burden on myself and my family. The exchange rate between India and the United States multiplies the financial loss. I am grateful to be going here, but there are times I wish Pratt could be more accommodating to international students in terms of financial aid. The cost of education is unheard of.

Melissa Salcedo, Borough of Manhattan Community College

I am majoring in business administration at BMCC. After my graduation I would really like to start my career as a creative director: I have always been a creative person, and being able to express it by visually representing a product that will be sold is something that really inspires me in pursuing my career. During my two years at BMCC I have been participating in some of the amazing programs they offer that really helped me and helped a lot of other students as well.

In particular, I will always be grateful for programs like the ASAP Leadership Program, where I made a lot of friends that have been a fundamental piece in my academic and personal growth. This program has also been able to help out less fortunate people. It is important to keep these activities open for students, because helping others while perfecting your abilities is an opportunity that more people should have. Before starting college, my goal was to achieve a high GPA and to find my dream career. Two years later, and after changing my major a few times, I am finally going to transfer to a four-year college with a GPA of 3.8.

I am still working hard to have a career that will make me satisfied in the future. Everything I have done during these semesters allowed me to graduate on time: in May 2020, I will finally get my associate degree. However, I would appreciate it if some services on campus were improved: I have been late for classes multiple times because elevators were not working; in some of my classes there were not enough seats for all the students or not enough paper in the bathroom. It is also important to hire more staff for mental health services, which counts only two therapists that have to work for thousands of students. The BMCC campus is great, but it could be improved by adjusting all the existing services they offer. I really hope that every other student after me will have the opportunity of being in an environment that makes them feel like home, where the bad sides of our college will be finally solved and the good sides will become even better.

Kiara Lo Coco, Borough of Manhattan Community College

I’m a first-year student majoring in criminal justice. After obtaining my bachelors I want to go to law school and become a criminal lawyer or a human rights lawyer. I receive TAP and a Pell Grant along with financial aid. My tuition is covered.

Unfortunately I do not have my own advisor. I have an opportunity to join the BLA program at my college but I fear that if I join BLA I will not be able to get any help from other programs such as ASAP. College textbooks, lunch, and transportation are expenses outside of tuition. I was looking for a job but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been made difficult to find a job and register for the upcoming semesters’ classes. My family and I are immigrants from Italy. Nobody in my family is working right now because of the pandemic. If I don’t get a STEM waiver, I will not be able to afford summer or winter courses. I am fortunate that I am able to attend college and receive an education that I can be proud of.

Personally I’m a very determined student. Being an immigrant pushes me to achieve unimaginable things such as getting a high school diploma in one year and doing 4 years’ worth of high school material by going to Saturday classes and waking up very early. I make sure that I am still on track even now because I’m that determined. We need a fully-funded CUNY because we are very motivated and dedicated students. If CUNY were to be fully funded, we would have better infrastructure that would allow us to get to class on time, instead of taking detours, and the staff we need to succeed.

Sarah Russo, Hunter College

I am majoring in Sociology and pursuing a certificate in Public Policy at Hunter College. This is my last semester. I just found out that I got accepted into graduate school in Spain where I will be getting a Masters in Education. I plan on being a teacher for at least the next few years after that. I am also considering going to law school eventually, but that would be many years from now. The reason that I chose this program is because if I work at a school, my tuition fees get waived. I wish I could say the same for my time at Hunter. I am paying for my education at Hunter College with a few different merit scholarships, both private and through my program at Hunter, without which I would not be able to attend school or I would have to make the difficult decision to take out a massive loan. The rest is covered with a combination of mine and my mother’s savings. To be able to be in the position to do this is an immense privilege that I do not take lightly. Because I am from New Jersey I do not qualify for TAP, Pell, or the Excelsior Scholarship. In order to pay for textbooks, food, rent, and a MetroCard I have been working part-time every semester and full time during summer and winter breaks. I wish that I was able to qualify for these types of financial aid because it would take away the stress of a huge financial burden for me and my family. I would have more time to not worry about working and actually have moments for rest and passion projects. 

I talk to students all the time, and the biggest barriers to education that I hear every day are always finances – CUNY is an institution built for working-class people, but the rising cost of tuition is making it less and less accessible. Every semester more and more of my friends have to drop out because they can no longer afford the cost of attendance. We need a free and fully funded CUNY so that every student has the opportunity to determine their own destiny, regardless of their financial status. The ability to pursue education is a human right and must be regarded as such. I wish that the state saw CUNY for the potential it has to be an engine of equity for all students, as well as an investment in the future of our economy and society as a whole.

Ashmani Appu, Hunter College

I am a freshman at Hunter College currently studying Biology. After college, I plan on going to medical school to further my education. I do not pay for school on my own, I receive financial aid. I receive TAP, Pell, and am a part of the SEEK opportunity program. I pay for my textbooks with the money I receive from Seek. I do not work but am trying to find a job to help support my family with money. I do not receive SNAP or work-study and pay for food with my SEEK checks and other financial aid. If I did not receive financial aid, I would have to resort to taking out a loan or finding a job so that I can make my own money. I am somewhat concerned about graduating on time, because I might not be able to complete all of my prerequisites for my major in time.

We need a fully-funded CUNY for low-income students who are not in any opportunity programs like SEEK or EOP and have to depend on other means such as working or work-study to pay for college. Many students could benefit from increased investment. Too many students have to rely on balancing jobs, school, and loans.

Judley Baltazard, City College of NY

I’m a junior majoring in Sociology. My future plans include graduate school to become a clinical therapist. I value all the resources available to be able to gain the skills necessary to further my career.

I am able to attend college through financial aid, including TAP and a Pell grant. I’m a first generation student, so furthering my education is more of a community achievement than anything else. Although I receive financial aid I have sought part-time employment to aid with my many expenses i.e food, bills, clothes, etc. I was unable, however, due to my heavy class load of 5 classes per semester. This class load is essential in order to receive the TAP and Pell grants which cap after four years.

A fully funded CUNY is fundamental to not only the success of thousands of students but the economy as a whole.

Lauren Jones, SUNY ESF

I chose to attend SUNY ESF for a few different reasons, the biggest being cost. My father is a doctor, and he is still paying off the loans that he took out to go to medical school three decades later. I didn’t want to end up in a similar situation as him, being forced into debt for the rest of my life. But even at a SUNY school, it keeps getting more expensive to be a student. Our dorms are almost three times as much as tuition, and we are forced to live in them for our first year. Tuition is increasing, but there have been constant cuts to programs and opportunities that the school can provide for us. 

I’m studying environmental science, and our textbooks cost so much! I don’t know how New York expects students like me to get our degrees while having so many extra costs. I was fortunate enough to receive an academic scholarship to ESF so I can avoid taking out loans or relying on my parents. This means that I need to dedicate extra time to my studies to keep the scholarship, which makes being able to get a part-time job very hard. I chose ESF to avoid going into debt, but with tuition hikes, living expenses, and the additional fees and materials I need to pay for, I don’t know if that is possible.