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Posts Tagged ‘Pell Grant’

Ceianna Farquharson, Buffalo State College

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I am a currently a freshman, undeclared major as for now, but studying to be a language interpreter. I receive financial aid from TAP and the Pell Grant and I am currently an EOP student. I also am currently receiving a grant from the New York Yankees because of my mother.

My biggest challenge is trying to stay calm and not to feel overwhelmed by the workload. I receive a lot of support. EOP supplies me with two textbooks and my family sends money to pay for the rest of my books. I have a meal plan paid through financial aid and also my mother helps me pay for food. I also do receive SNAP benefits as well. Also, I have a goal to complete work at a gradual pace so I won’t be overwhelmed by a last minute urgency.

We need SUNY fully funded because students who take the initiative to go into higher education deserve to be supported for their desire for higher success. Please continue to fund our schools and to fund me.

Leidy Gallo, Queens College

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I was previously a part of ASAP and received stipends for textbooks and metro cards. I got tuition covered and with receiving the Pell Grant, I had money leftover that went toward gas and food.

This was my first semester at QC, and I get financial aid to cover my tuition, but it’s my first time having to pay for textbooks. The bill came to $380. There was an Italian book I needed. So one of my friends made copies for me this semester luckily. I had a larger refund when I was in ASAP which meant that extra money could go towards my son- clothing, gas, rent, food.  

I’ve had to budget a lot more this semester. I wasn’t able to buy a laptop that I needed for school. I try to use my phone to write essays which is horrendous. I got a zero on a paper because it didn’t go through on my phone and I don’t have a laptop. If I still had the support of ASAP, I’d have more leftover Pell money and could’ve bought a laptop and avoided this problem and future problems.

Julia Sweeney, SUNY Cortland

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I am a senior Biology major at SUNY Cortland. I originally thought about teaching biology, but I don’t like the program here. I’m not entirely sure what I want to do after graduation, but I am excited to graduate. I work two summer jobs and use financial aid to pay for school. I get some help from Pell and TAP but they don’t fully cover everything, but they do help with buying my textbooks and food for the year.

I don’t have time during the semesters to work, because I’m trying to balance school, labs, and everything else. That’s challenging enough without a job. If I didn’t get financial aid I wouldn’t be in college, period. I’m completely independent from my parents, I pay for my own car insurance and other bills, and I wouldn’t be able to afford life’s necessities on top of school without the help of financial aid.

I’m kind of concerned about graduating on time only because I’m taking a required class in my last semester here and I need to pass in order to graduate. We need to have fully funded SUNY because it would make life less stressful. We wouldn’t have to worry about if and how we’re going to afford to eat everyday, pay for books, and other bills.

Neely Benoit, SUNY Cortland

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I’m a Professional Writing major with a minor in Anthropology, and this is my fifth year here at SUNY Cortland. I’m planning to go to grad school after this to study Anthropology and Political Science. Right now, I take out private loans. I think I got the Pell Grant for about a semester, and it was only like $50. I don’t receive TAP, and I couldn’t even qualify for the Excelsior Scholarship.

I’m a student director in one of the campus buildings, and I also pick up shifts at Auxiliary Services as a floater. So I’ll wash dishes or cook chicken on the grill for six hours straight. In general, I work anywhere between 12 to 25 hours a week. I’m always looking for more work because I don’t get any money for rent or food, and that takes away from study time and homework.

I applied for food stamps, but I wasn’t eligible because I didn’t work enough to qualify. They don’t take into consideration that I’m also a full-time student. I’m already a year late to graduate, but I’ll be on track to graduate this year. If it wasn’t for working so much, I’m sure I would’ve graduated on time for my degree. We need a fully-funded SUNY so people like me can graduate on time and not have to worry about going to grad school because of all the private loans they’ve already taken out. I’m walking away from undergraduate degree with almost $100,000 worth of student debt. And that’s from a state school. I’ve already started paying those loans off for three years already. That’s another thing I pay for with work, besides car insurance, my car payment, internet, electricity, rent, food, and textbooks.

I don’t pay more than $300 a semester in books. If a semester cost me more than 300 bucks in textbooks, I would weigh which books are more valuable and get rid of the other ones. There are also some classes that require fees in order to take them. I took art for three semesters, and that was $200 for each course each time, totaling $600. And that doesn’t even cover materials. It covered studio space and workshop equipment.

My biggest challenge as a SUNY student has been finances. I worry more about my finances than I do about passing each class. I know I’m at a major disadvantage in class because I have to work so much more just to make sure that I have a roof over my head while I’m in school, or just to make sure the internet doesn’t cut off so that we can finish our homework. I think if we had a much lower tuition or if there were less hurtles to have to jump through for a student like me, then I might be able to not be in as much debt, and then I would be able to go to grad school without the fear of not just getting rejected, but also of it not being paid for.

Katherine Breton, SUNY Cortland

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I’m a sophomore at SUNY Cortland. I study psychology, and I’m working toward a minor in Spanish. After I graduate, I’m going to grad school for my Master’s and PHD in psychology, probably somewhere in New York City– by home. I currently get financial aid, TAP, and the Pell Grant, but even with that I still take out loans, and my parents pay a little bit to help too.

I don’t work during the school year, but at home I work at the YMCA, and between the money I get from that and babysitting, I can pay for my textbooks. If I didn’t get financial aid I’d probably be in a CUNY school instead of at SUNY Cortland, so that I was closer to home and it’d be less expensive. I wanted to go to SUNY because I wanted to get out of the city for awhile. There are so many problems that SUNY and CUNY students have to face right now, but just one of them is transportation to and from school and home. That’s expensive, and I feel like that should be provided. We need a fully funded SUNY and CUNY so that everybody has the opportunity to get a degree no matter what financial circumstances they’re in.

Evelyn Marks, SUNY Cortland

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I’m a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) major at SUNY Cortland, but before that I was an Adolescent Education major. I’m kind of a “super duper senior” because I graduated more than 2 years ago with a B.A. in English, which makes me a non-traditional student.

I have two plans that I could go for after graduating. I could get my master’s here at Cortland and then go to New York City to teach, or the second plan is basically going abroad and teaching. I pay for college with loans and work. I used to receive TAP and the Pell Grant when I was initially going to college, but I don’t receive them anymore.

I work part-time at Walmart, roughly 20 hours a week. Last year I worked full-time and could barely balance my workload between classes and work. This year it’s a lot easier to balance the workload. I get my textbooks through the inter-library loan, which is awesome because you don’t have to pay a million dollars for books. I use whatever money I have leftover from work for food, even though right now I don’t have a lot of money for that, either. I was going to apply for SNAP, but I heard that college kids aren’t always eligible.

Even if I didn’t receive financial aid for college I would still go, considering that’s what I’ve been doing for the past couple of years, but I am concerned about graduating on time. Some of the classes I need to take actually conflict with other classes I need, which means I have to push my graduation date out a year, essentially. I think SUNY/CUNY should be free because I think that students shouldn’t have to worry about scraping together money for college when they should be trying to perform better in classes.

Josh Mazariegos, SUNY Cortland

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I am finishing my final year as a Teaching English as a Second Language major with a minor in Spanish. After Cortland I plan on moving back to Columbia to be an English professor.

I do receive some financial help from the Pell Grant, but I still have to work year-round to cover the other expenses, like all of the textbooks I need for my classes. I typically work full-time in the summer months, and I also work at Neubig Dining Hall between classes to get by. As far as food goes, I do have a meal plan that I have to pay for out- of pocket, but I also work in one of the dining halls so I’m not a big fan of working around the same food I have to eat.

Nagdeska Paulino, SUNY New Paltz

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I am a junior, and I am majoring in Sociology with two minors in Anthropology and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. I do not have any idea about what I am doing after college, but a plan I briefly contemplated is going for my Master’s and teaching sociology. So far, half of my tuition and other school bills have been paid by grants like Pell and TAP and the other half has been loans.

I am not a part of any opportunity programs; EOP would have been nice but the program rejected me because my high school GPA was one point too high. I have a work study job that does not really produce anything substantial; we’re halfway through the semester and I have not received one check. Honestly, I have been flat broke for a while so I finessed textbooks this semester and managed to get all but one of them for free.

I only use my meal plan for food but if I did not have enough financial aid to pay for it, I would probably only eat once a day. I don’t think I’m concerned about graduating on time but it would not surprise me if I had to stay longer than I would like to. A fully funded SUNY would be beneficial since I would not feel as though I’m walking with a -$30,000 above my head every day. Just the thought of the loans I’ve already accumulated, only two years into my degree, makes me want to not do my work. This morphs into procrastination and we all know how that goes. My biggest challenges have been having to decide which assignments are more worth printing out since my printing quota is depreciating quickly and wanting to go home but having no money for a trailways ticket.   

Kim Wylie, Queens College

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I am currently part of the Macaulay Honors Program where I am a sophomore double majoring in Psychology and Political Science. In the future I plan on pursuing my master’s degree in criminal psychology. I also receive full TAP and Pell grants which pay for my college career. If it would not be for these grants, I would have to take out various student loans to be able to afford college.

My biggest challenge as a CUNY student receiving TAP and Pell is taking fifteen credits a semester to graduate on time without these grants running out.  As far as my other expenses go such as food, textbooks, and transportation my parents help me out. There needs to be a fully funded CUNY. In today’s economy one can not get a decent paying job without a diploma, therefore making it a necessity and not a commodity. Also, at the most basic level education should be accessible to all.

Christy Suquitana, Queens College

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I am currently a freshman majoring  in political science and minoring in Urban Studies. After graduation, I plan on going to law school.  I pay for tuition through TAP and Pell Grants, and my parents assist me with the costs of textbooks. TAP only covers four years of financial aid, so I must take fifteen credits per semester to graduate on time. If TAP would cover summer and winter courses then it would lighten my load over the fall and spring semesters. Along with being a full time college student, I also work part time to financially assist my family.  It is nearly impossible to make college my first priority when I feel overwhelmed with the overload of credits and working.

CUNY and SUNY should be fully funded, so that specifically my two siblings will not have to feel pressured to work in order to afford college. In terms of my college experience, CUNY needs to be better funded. I had difficulty registering for a calculus class which I needed to fulfill a core requirement.

Additionally, finding an academic adviser who will be able to give me accurate advice is very hard. At the beginning of my Freshman year, I had a question regarding financial aid. One adviser gave me inaccurate advice which almost caused me to lose my financial aid due to the fact, that there are not enough advisers for the amount of students. She had to rush when giving me advice in order to make time for the long line of students waiting to be advised. This budget deficit at CUNY could have had detrimental effects on my college career.