Posts Tagged ‘rent’

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.

Malcom Michael, Buffalo State College

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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.

Avalann Bargallo, Buffalo State College

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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.

Daniel Malpica, Queens College

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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.

Stephen Chu, Queensborough Community College

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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.

Franky Aviles, Purchase College

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I pay for school personally. I actually get short term loans to try to help my credit.  So there’s interest, which is currently at 11%, that I’m paying through VISA, and this is at a monthly rate.  I take out over $5000 a year, and I pay that off monthly.

I work anywhere from 32-42 hours a week. I drive back and forth and my money is going to gas. I’m paying for textbooks on top of paying for loans. I also pay rent, and my cellphone bill.  In order for me to have a car, because we just can’t afford cars like that, I had to take out another loan and buy a car, a used car and I pay that off monthly too. Everything just kind of adds up to a point where I’m literally just working check to check at this point.

Toni Yancey, SUNY Cortland

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As a senior in high school, I did not think college would ever be in my grasp. Most of my family did not go to college so I thought I would not either. I was unsure how I would pay for my higher education.  Thankfully, my high school had a terrific career program that provided the necessary tools to make my college dreams a possibility.  I applied to SUNY Cortland through their Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and was admitted. I am grateful to have come across this program. They helped me prepare for college socially and economically, as well as help me prepare in terms of academics.  I receive financial aid in order to help pay for school, however a majority of the additional costs are placed on my shoulders. Aside for paying for tuition, I front the cost of other expenses such as food, social activities, toiletries, textbooks and other school supplies. The list can go on forever, As an off-campus resident, I must also pay rent. I am taking eighteen credits and also working two jobs to help me with the cost of living.

I am studying sociology and professional writing and planning on attending graduate school. I am an aspiring counselor and believe that the investment for a postgraduate degree will increase my chances of employment, and ultimately allow me to pay off loans more efficiently.