I’m in my last year at BMCC, planning on getting my Associates Degree in the spring. My major is studio art and painting. I plan on transferring to a four year CUNY to get my BA in architecture. Right now, I am paying for school with the PELL grant and it is the last year I’m able to. I tried doing the TAP application this and last year, but even though I’ve been living in NY since 2020, for some reason they say that they cannot figure out if I qualify for TAP because of residency concerns. I’m a US citizen but I have lived most of my life in a different country. When I first came to NY I lived in the shelter system and that’s not enough to determine residency. I have an appointment with the HESC to sort this out, which I have been trying to have since last year. I am trying to sort this out now, but it has been a difficult and long process to figure out. I’ve had two appointments with HESC so far and nothing has changed yet. The PELL grant covers all of my tuition, but still it’s not enough because I have other costs such as rent, groceries, school supplies, and transportation. Last semester, I enrolled in the work study program so I could get some extra money but this semester I did not see that option in my financial aid. What I am going to try to do this semester is find a part time job to cover costs? I am applying for TAP so that I can have all of these costs covered so that I can focus on school. Because I have my tuition covered with the PELL grant, mostly food costs are the problem NY is expensive. My SNAP benefits do not cover this.
Posts Tagged ‘SNAP’
Guillermo Davila, Borough of Manhattan Community College
Ashmani Appu, Hunter College
I am a freshman at Hunter College currently studying Biology. After college, I plan on going to medical school to further my education. I do not pay for school on my own, I receive financial aid. I receive TAP, Pell, and am a part of the SEEK opportunity program. I pay for my textbooks with the money I receive from Seek. I do not work but am trying to find a job to help support my family with money. I do not receive SNAP or work-study and pay for food with my SEEK checks and other financial aid. If I did not receive financial aid, I would have to resort to taking out a loan or finding a job so that I can make my own money. I am somewhat concerned about graduating on time, because I might not be able to complete all of my prerequisites for my major in time.
We need a fully-funded CUNY for low-income students who are not in any opportunity programs like SEEK or EOP and have to depend on other means such as working or work-study to pay for college. Many students could benefit from increased investment. Too many students have to rely on balancing jobs, school, and loans.
Jennifer Lopez, SUNY Cortland
I’m currently a junior studying Sociology at SUNY Cortland. After graduation, I hope to attend graduate school near home and to find a part-time job. I receive scholarship help like TAP and Pell Grants. I support myself financially, so I work during my summers and during the school year to pay for textbooks and to pay for my food costs because I don’t receive any support for food like SNAP.
I am very thankful as a first-generation student to be able to go to college. College is still expensive even with all these financial aid grants, but everyday I work hard to be a better person and make my parents proud, so at the end of the day everything is worth it.
If SUNY were fully-funded, then students could focus on classes. Financial stability for some students can be very stressful which can impact how they do in school. One of the biggest challenges was adjusting to the distance from Cortland to my hometown and fitting in, since Cortland does not have a very big Latin community.
Jessica Woodberry, NYC College of Technology
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.
Ceianna Farquharson, Buffalo State College
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.
Neely Benoit, SUNY Cortland
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.
Evelyn Marks, SUNY Cortland
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.
Maria Obmachkina, Hunter College
I am studying psychology. I receive the Pell Grant and TAP. I had to drop chemistry because it was so hard and I ended up becoming part time that semester. It disqualified me from TAP mid semester, which was really stressful. Another semester, I dropped Russian and the same thing happened. If I didn’t receive financial aid at all during college I would be in a lot of debt, probably have a mental breakdown.
I work as a home attendant 20 hours a week. I used to do tutoring. I pay for food out of pocket. I live with my grandma and we have SNAP. When I first got into school it was hard to register for the courses I needed. If college was free it would mobilize and expand people. People would have more time. It would help people in need that can barely survive. Transportation is the biggest challenge for me as a student. It takes me 2 hours each way. Also mental health. There needs to be better mental health services and services for non traditional students.