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.”
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.
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.
I am a junior at Queens College majoring in both Art Education and Illustration. I chose Queens College because it is one of the only public schools with both these majors. I’ve been drawing since I was a child, so I wanted to take the opportunity to get a degree specific to my interests. I also love to help people learn, so art education felt like the perfect match.
The financial aid I get doesn’t cover the full cost of attendance, and these extra costs cut into the incredibly tight budget my family has to survive. It demolishes my family’s ability to afford our basic needs. In New York, we all pay too much in rent and bills, and for my family, any extra cost of any kind makes it so that we can’t afford groceries.
My mother is a single parent supporting two children through college. Her health is deteriorating, and work is getting harder for her. Also, financial aid takes forever to process. When it doesn’t get processed on time, my account goes on hold, and I can’t register for my classes for the next semester. Right now, with the threat of $9,000 coming out of my family’s empty pockets, the future of my education is at risk.
I live in the dorms on campus because my family lives almost two hours away. I made the decision not to live at home because I wanted to ensure that nothing got in the way of my education, including traffic. But I feel like every time I make the right decision for my education, it seems like everything else has to take a hit—especially my finances.
If school were free or if I got more aid, I wouldn’t have to worry about these things, and I wouldn’t have to put my family into unimaginable debt just hoping things work out in the future. I shouldn’t have to tank my family’s livelihood just for a chance at success.
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!
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.
Since I was adopted from Russia by my single mother who possess a PHD in English literature, the importance of my education has been emphasized from early on in my life. As my high school years elapsed and the daunting reality of the real world loomed over my conscience, I found myself applying to community college. To my surprise, there were a lot more hurdles I had to overcome then just an entrance exam. Despite New York State offering a wide variety of financial aid support to students, I was unable to qualify for any financial aid. Thus, my mother and I took loans to supplement the cost of community college.
By the end of my two-year program, the debt I had accumulated was over $9000. With my Associates Degree in Criminal Justice, I transferred to Buffalo State College where I am now a senior studying Political Science. As my first year at Buffalo State waned into the past I had accumulated a loan which surpassed $20,000. During the summer prior to my senior year I moved from Buffalo State campus into an apartment close to campus.
The summer of 2017 was the beginning to a life full of relentless stress and physical pain. As bills began to pile up I found myself working full time at a local pizzeria. Luckily for the first time I was actually able to receive financial help from the New York State government through the new Excelsior Scholarship. Which was even harder to receive than loans. Along with the hoops one has to jump through, the programs has many restrictions which have the potential of crippling students. An example of one of these restricting parameters is the required number of credits a student must take during a semester in order to receive the financial support.
Over my senior year here at Buffalo State College I have been working 40+ hours a week while being a full time student. The financial burden of living expenses such as rent, utilities, food etc., has made it increasingly difficult to focus and dedicate spare time to school. The fear of eviction and the potential of being homeless is a daunting reality for students who fully support themselves. I often find myself worrying about my finances, rather than worrying about important school assignments.
I was raised in a single parent household with my two sisters. My mom worked full time to support us all. She didn’t get the opportunity to go to college but wanted better for me and my sisters. No one in my family has finished a four year degree yet and that is mainly because of the financial burden.
I am a full time student enrolled in the EOP program and do receive financial aid, but that covers tuition. I still have multiple loans in my name I had to take out and have worked 1-2 jobs during the school years to pay for living expenses such as books, food, my car, and most recently off campus rent because seniors aren’t allowed to live on campus anymore. I would love to just focus on school but that’s not possible.
I am worried about paying back those students loans and possibly wanting to further my education because of the costs. Investing in higher education will greatly improve the future students of New York.
I am currently benefiting tremendously from my Work Study position in the Queens College office of Veteran Affairs. I receive a tax free stipend as long as I am enrolled as a full time student. I chose recently to be in school full time rather than work as a porter.
Either way, financially I would be struggling. I want to improve and enjoy my life but more importantly, provide the same opportunity for my two children. Gabriel is 13 and Liam is 9. If I did not have Work Study, expenses would be overwhelming and I would be on the street. My current major expenses are feeding my kids and paying rent. At the end of the month, I just make ends meet I am grateful for this on campus job.
I used to work construction before deciding to go back to school. Although I had saved up some money before this transition, school tuition is not cheap at all, combined with rent. I soon had to move back in with my mother but that did not work out, so nowadays I stay with my sister and brother in law. I help out around the house and take care of my nieces, and I work part time but really all I can do is make enough money to pay some bills, and also pay a little rent money to my sister. I borrow money from my mother for school tuition, and the expensive books.
When I first went back to school in 2016, I was told it was too close to my last W2 where I made full time income from construction. So unfortunately, I did not qualify for financial aid. I may qualify this September but, even then, it won’t be enough to subsidize my total educational costs. It may alleviate a bit of the money I borrow from my mother.
I believe an individual such as myself would benefit from SNAP. It could help me afford food while not adding to my stress and financial burden overall.