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Posts Tagged ‘food costs’

Jessica Woodberry, NYC College of Technology

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Credit-wise I’m a senior, but I will be here until 2021. I would like to go to law school, but I can’t afford to pay for LSAT exam, which is a couple hundred dollars. I came from the Fashion Institute of Technology graduating with a major in pattern-making technology. Then I went to John Jay where I got my Bachelors in English and minor in Law, and now I’m studying at City Tech as a Law and Paralegal major. I continued to go to school thinking that TAP would cover it because they didn’t tell me that they only cover four years of school. I pay for school through student loans now.

My parents pay for my textbooks, I receive SNAP for food, and I am concerned about graduating on time. Tuition is going up, and I can’t afford it, which means I can’t take full amounts of classes like I want to. I had to go part-time at one point because I couldn’t afford to take full-time credits.

I got sick senior year of my first bachelors, so I had to take a semester off, and then I had a miscarriage so I took another semester off, and what they don’t tell you is that they count those semesters off as part of the 4 years of TAP.

I really need the prices to come down because I’m a single parent with a 14 year-old daughter, and I’m trying to make ends meet. I’m trying to further my career, but it’s too expensive.

Felix Santos, SUNY New Paltz

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I am a junior at SUNY New Paltz, studying sociology with a concentration in criminology and a minor in communications. On campus I have been a student assistant at the Sweets N’ Treats bakery and a student chef at Peregrine Dining Hall. Working at these locations provided help with finances and helped me buy food because after a while campus food gets old. Working on campus also helped me pay off the money that I owed to the school because financial aid couldn’t cover all of my tuition and fees even though I receive the maximum amount for the TAP and Pell Grants.

I am very grateful to be a part of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). EOP has helped me in tons of ways. First, in terms of financial aid, they provide up to $1,400 towards financial aid. Although it does help, it still did not cover all of my financial needs for the semesters. Sometimes towards the end, the program receives leftover money from schools in order to help fund the missing amount from a student’s financial aid.

EOP has helped guide me through the criteria of college by giving me an idea of what to expect from classes, especially since it was a big transition from high school. EOP has also helped me in the process of deciding what major was best for me, and the program provided connections in order for me to succeed. Those resources are even there for me when the semester hits and anxiety and stress takes over my body.

I have been facing problems with financial aid since I started school. I was never told that the amount of financial aid you receive depends on the amount of credits you earn in a year. One semester during freshman year I took 12 credits instead of 15, and you need 30 credits to be considered a sophomore. At the beginning of my sophomore semester, I had to take about a thousand dollars out-of-pocket in order to pay off the school since my financial aid didn’t cover all of my bill. And with loans, I’m not allowed to take out a certain amount of money because I didn’t qualify to be a sophomore that year. I was too scared to take out another loan (the Parent Plus loan).

It’s really hard to pay that amount because $1,000 isn’t pocket change, especially since I come from a family that relies on an insignificant income. I had to rely on the funds that I earned from working at the on-campus job that I had. This year I was faced with taking out the Parent Plus loan, and I ended up doing it. A lot of my friends dropped out because they couldn’t pay the amount that they owed to the school.

Isra Tahir, Brooklyn College

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I am a sophomore at Brooklyn College. Before this semester began, my FAFSA was processed a little later than planned because I needed to obtain additional documents to complete my application. The semester began and I had an outstanding balance due, since my FAFSA had not been processed. I was told that I must start a payment plan to prevent the cancellation of my classes and that I would get my money back after I received financial aid. So I started a payment plan, confident that I would eventually get my money back. Over two months, I paid about half of my tuition out of pocket.

In addition to tuition payments, I used my own money to pay for textbooks and homework—some classes require the purchase of an online program to gain access to do my homework assignments. Without starting the payment plan, I could not do my homework, ultimately affecting my grade. After paying for all of this, I did not have much left in my bank account and could not afford to pay for my commute to school or lunch after a long day of classes. When my financial aid finally came in, I found out that it was only going to cover half of my tuition, and I would not get reimbursed for the money I had already given. It was too late.

I had to continue this semester with almost no money in my account. Even though financial aid covered half of my tuition, I still have to pay a few hundred dollars on top of that. I started doing online jobs such as Rev which involves transcribing audio. However, these online jobs can only help me pay for my commute which involves an express bus and a train ride. It is exhausting to balance school and work. On top of that, I have to travel two hours to get to school and back; that’s four hours commuting in a day.

Fortunately, I live with my parents so I do not have to pay rent or buy all of my food. My family is currently going through some tough financial times, so at first I refrained from telling my parents about what was going on. After I found out that I wasn’t getting my money back, I told them, and it became an additional financial burden to them.

Right now, I am undeclared, but I’m thinking of majoring in Chemistry. After I receive my Bachelor’s degree, I want to go to medical school so I can become a pediatrician. It’s something I’m really passionate about. I think I will be able to graduate on time because now I know what I need to accomplish and am better prepared. It’s just going to be a lot of work. The reality is that if I did not get at least half of my tuition covered, I would not have been able to continue this semester, and my college career would have been put on hold.

Omar Andron, City College of NY

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I’m a senior majoring in political science. After graduating, I want to work in public policy. I’m graduating on time because I cannot afford not to. Because I’m a transfer student from Russia, I don’t have any financial aid and have to pay more than the average student. My FAFSA application was not accepted because I already have a degree from Syria.

Compared to private schools, CUNY is cheaper but a diploma from a private college comes with prestige. I’m the first person in my family to go to college and the first to not work a blue-collar job. I pay for school, rent, food, transportation, books, and support my family back home in Turkey.

I’m currently in debt over $28,000 because I needed help to pay for everything because I can’t work a full-time job since I have been in school for the past 7 years. I receive Medicare from the State of New York, but the process itself is very difficult and tedious.

We need a fully funded and free CUNY because all public universities should be truly public. The moment you put a price tag on a public service, it’s no longer for everyone. It’s now only for those who can afford it!

Also, the rising tuition should be alarming to students. In other countries, once the government tries to raise the price of tuition, students protest. Here we are simply not. If we don’t raise our voices against the status quo and stand for what we all deserve, it’ll get worse and worse!

Maliha Khan, City College of NY

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I’m a junior majoring in international studies, and I’m minoring in English and Economics. After graduation, I would love to work with a nonprofit organization and hopefully one day I will be able to work with the UN!

I receive TAP and the Pell grant. I’m part of SEEK, which has helped me tremendously because they have provided me with a very helpful advisor, financial help, and an amazing environment for me to be in. I use the money that I get as a refund after my tuition to pay transportation, food, and books.

I’m currently looking for a part-time job and an internship with a nonprofit organization, but because of my busy schedule at school, it’s very difficult. I’ve also applied for federal work-study, but because financial aid covers my tuition, my application isn’t a priority.

I would appreciate a child care center on campus because I have many classmates that bring their children into the classes, and although they don’t often disrupt the class, they are a distraction to their moms because they have to pay attention to the children instead of paying attention to the class.

Time management has been my biggest challenge at a CUNY student.  I’m very concerned about graduating on time because I have changed majors. It has become very stressful because I am taking six classes next semester. If I didn’t receive financial aid, my parents would have to take out loans to help pay for tuition which would be really hard because I would have to work in order to support myself as well.

We need a fully funded CUNY because many plan on pursuing a master’s or a doctorate degree after college, and if students no longer had to worry about paying for their bachelor’s degree, they could save for furthering their educations. Also, it becomes very hard for a student to maintain a high GPA if they have to work to pay for their tuition, books, and food.

Abigaile Sanchez Hernandez, City College of NY

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I’m majoring in political science and minoring in journalism. After college, I plan to keep on working with grassroots political organizations with which my beliefs align morally and politically and work with communities who are disfranchised to help them find the resources to live comfortably in this society.

I don’t receive any financial aid, so my parents and I are covering my tuition, book costs, and transportation. I personally don’t need the child care center but would appreciate it for other students. I know of a load of students that are also parents. A center would take off the financial load of child care.

My biggest challenge as a CUNY student has been taking classes that I need to graduate on time and finding vegan options. I’m concerned with graduating on time because advisors are very inconsistent, and I’ve taken classes that I don’t need.

I think that we need a fully funded CUNY because there’s a clear disparity in a lot of job fields, and we need a fully funded CUNY to diversify institutions that control what happens to real working-class people. Low-income students of color don’t have the means to complete a bachelor’s degree because of food insecurity, financial insecurity, and other challenges. If they were able to go to school and get a degree while not having to worry about money, these students could change the world! They would have more of a say over their lives and the lives of people who identify with them. I think that that would be a better pathway to an equal society, which is very essential in today’s political climate. If we care about equality and diversity, CUNY needs to be fully funded!

Seth Moer, City College of NY

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I’m majoring in political science and minoring in journalism. I’m part of the 1% of students that receive the Excelsior scholarship, so I have to complete 30 credits per year, which makes college more stressful by increasing my workload. I also have to stay in New York four years after my graduation, so I plan to attend graduate school. I also am a recipient of the Pell Grant and the TAP award.

I work on the weekends and have to pay for food, transportation, and books myself because I don’t receive SNAP, and I am not part of any opportunity programs. If I didn’t receive any financial aid, I would probably be in debt. I think that CUNY should be fully funded to help to support the growing student body that overwhelms public colleges because most people find it nearly impossible to attend private colleges.

More aspects of CUNY, such as maintenance of the elevators of CCNY, should also be funded. I would also appreciate a child care center on campus to provide support for students that are also parents.

Mary Faduski, SUNY Cortland

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I’m a senior at SUNY Cortland majoring in Sociology with a minor in Anthropology. Once I graduate, I plan on getting a job working at a children’s home in case management.

I pay for school with private loans. Because my parents don’t qualify, I don’t receive TAP or the Pell Grant. I have no option but to take out loans. I have to work back home and on the weekends when I’m at school to help pay for college and other expenses that I have.

When it comes to textbooks, my parents help pay for them, but I pay out of pocket for groceries because I don’t have a meal plan. I decided to take out another loan so that I could afford a meal plan, but that hasn’t gone through yet.

Since my dad makes too much, I don’t qualify for financial aid, but my parents still can’t afford to send me to school so my only option was to take out multiple loans and have my dad co-sign them. My parents have already put my two siblings through school, and we all have had to take out loans because it’s just not possible for my parents to pay for us all to go.

My biggest concern is that when I leave school I won’t get a job that will allow me to pay off my loans, which I have to start making payments on six months after graduating. If SUNY was fully funded, I wouldn’t have to worry about paying all these loans back, and it would also open doors for those who can’t afford to attend school.

Courtney Hines, SUNY Cortland

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I’m a senior at SUNY Cortland majoring in philosophy. After I graduate, I plan on working for a nonprofit organization. I pay for school with both financial aid and loans.

I receive TAP and the Pell Grant, and I also have a part-time job during the semester.

When it comes to textbooks, I usually don’t buy them because I can’t afford them. I try to find an online PDF version of the textbook, but if I can’t find that, then I have no option but to not have the book for class. For food, my financial aid covers the cost. I use it to buy groceries.

I depend on my financial aid, and this year I didn’t receive as much as previous semesters. My financial aid went from $4,000 to $400 because my sister moved out so my parents were expected to have that extra money to pay for my tuition. My mom had no choice but to take out a loan to help cover the costs of school.

We need a fully funded SUNY system so that all students have the opportunity to attend college, and they won’t be worried about paying for it. My biggest challenge as a SUNY student has been paying for school and worrying about how my parents are going to help me pay for it. A student’s main focus should not be paying for school; they should be focused on pursuing their education.

Hannah Falk, SUNY Cortland

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I’m currently a senior studying international studies and political science at SUNY Cortland. After graduation, I plan to work abroad, specifically in the Australian government.

In order to pay for school, I use financial aid as well as out of pocket payments. I receive both TAP and the Pell Grant to help cover the costs of school, but I also work part-time on campus for 20 hours a week on top of taking 19 credits. I use the money I make working to help pay for groceries, but I also use the student food cupboard on campus.

I pay for textbooks out of pocket with money from working. They’re expensive every semester, and I’m concerned that I won’t graduate on time and will have to pay for even more books all over again. There are classes that I’m required to take that are only offered at specific times, and I still haven’t been able to take them.

College should be accessible to everyone, and by making SUNY fully funded, it will be. Not everyone has the opportunity to attend college and financial aid doesn’t always cover everything, so students are left responsible to pay for the remaining costs. As students, our concern shouldn’t be having enough to eat. We should be focused on our education.

The biggest challenge that I’ve faced as a SUNY student is trying to afford both housing and food. My financial aid doesn’t cover housing because it is all spent on paying for my tuition, so I have to find ways to pay for it myself.