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Rodney Colon, City College of NY

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I get financial aid but it’s tooth and nail fighting for it. Because the financial aid office is so understaffed it can be very challenging to get the aid I need. I waited an entire semester to get my refund check. I spent money on a credit card to buy textbooks.

The elevators are horrific, like I’m disabled, the elevators and the escalators are never functioning. They do these band-aid fixes and they’re constantly still in disrepair. 

I take the shuttle from the subway station, it is reliable but it gets super packed, they definitely need more buses.

Dillon Johns, NYC College of Technology

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I am an Accounting and Finance major. I have had more trouble getting into my accounting classes, not my engineering (transferred from engineering to accounting). I tried to sign up 2-3 weeks before classes started and one of my classes was closed already. So I had to drop to a part-time course load this semester and hopefully it’s open the next one.

It hasn’t been easy finding an adviser. I went up to the accounting business finance department and I was greeted by a secretary and I was trying to get advisement and she’s like we don’t really do that here… I talked to a professor and he was like, “you know, I’m not really an adviser,” and he directed me to go online and find the information there. 

I’ve needed other services as well like mental health. I did go a couple times to the counselors. They were very nice to me but they really are there to just give you a referral. They did give me a good referral…but I had to pay for it out of my own pocket. It was expensive. If there were people who would do that here, it would help students a lot, financially.

In terms of physical space in our classes, I have been in a lot of situations where the teacher would give up his desk and people would sit at their desk and the professor just stands up and lectures the whole time. When I first signed up here – I was trying to go to class in one of the elevators [but it malfunctioned and] spit me out into a locked maintenance closet and I was sitting in there for like 20 minutes banging on the door. I eventually had to call 911 and the firefighters came up and opened the door. There were 10 firefighters and NYPD standing outside. Some of these elevators have been out of service for who knows how long.

The biggest reason I had to drop out of the electronics engineering program is because there was no support for people in the program. Any support there was you’d have to hopefully be available during your professor’s office hours, and even then they’re not obligated to do that. The lack of support- the lack of readily available tutors on a schedule that I could make is what led me to drop out of that program and seek something that was my second choice, just because there was nobody here.


Lashanna Chance, Queensborough Community College

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I have been at Queensborough for two years studying music production. I am very invested in my classes but also produce and write my own music and poetry. I want people to see that I am a student, not a disability and actually working toward my goal of one day owning a record label. I am lucky to have great support at home and at QCC.

I do receive financial aid and I make sure I utilize every resource on campus. My advisers for VAPA (Visual and Preforming Arts) academy know me very well and help me to register for classes. I go to tutoring every day for statistics and writing. Everyone on campus knows me because I bother everyone. That is the only way to get help sometimes. My greatest issue here is getting around comfortably. I don’t even go to the student union where the NYPIRG office is because it is actually dangerous for me to wheel myself. 

For me, full funding for CUNY would mean open sourced or cheaper textbooks. Most of my books I can just get in the library, but it isn’t easy for me to get to the library, find a book and study with it for two hours. It is always too crowded and isn’t worth my time, so I just order my books. Also, accessibility could be way better. Most doors are not automatic. The double doors close on me. I’m pretty strong, but yesterday I was struggling to get through a door for 5 minutes! When elevators are broken, that is the worst. I have to leave for my class at least 45 minutes early from anywhere on campus just to make sure I get there on time. An unexpected broken elevator can be a big problem.