Posts Tagged ‘student loans’

Andy Huang, Hunter College

I am a senior studying chemistry at Hunter College. I chose to attend a CUNY because it was much more affordable than a SUNY or private college. I live with my parents as dorming would be too expensive. I am lucky to receive the Pell Grant and TAP, both of which help cover my tuition fees. I also receive a scholarship per semester that helps fund my transportation, school materials, and food. While I rely on financial aid, I have come close to losing it during several semesters. This semester specifically, I was stressed about financial aid because I lost TAP. I couldn’t receive it because I was not taking enough eligible credits (the classes I needed to take were locked to the spring semester). I hope to see TAP’s eligibility expand in the future so that it accepts all the classes that students take. Attending college and getting a degree should not be blocked by tuition fees. Students need to be able to focus more on studying instead of stressing about working part-time/full-time to attend their classes.

Caroline Scott, SUNY Cortland

I attend SUNY Cortland as a full-time student. I’ve been here for two years and  attended SUNY Broome my freshman and sophomore year. When applying for college I didn’t know where I wanted to go, but I knew that I didn’t want to be that far from home. That’s why I decided on  Broome because it’s about 30 minutes from home. I was able to live off campus and not commute so I was able to get a real college experience. After two years there I decided to go to Cortland because it was far from my home where I am able to be independent, but still close enough to go home if I need to. I am able to go to Cortland without having to have student loans because my parents can pay for it in full. That is a reason why I chose Cortland because I wouldn’t have student debt. Cortland comes with a lot of expenses though whether it’s parking, the price of textbooks (which I don’t always need), or materials teachers make us get outside of the classroom. My major is important to me so I will do whatever it takes to obtain my degree, but the price for many things have gotten out of control and I believe all SUNYs need to look at their finances and think about their students. 

Justin Lorenzo, Purchase College

I’m a junior and intern for NYPIRG at SUNY Purchase College. I am a communications major and Economics minor. When I graduate I hope to pursue the sports advertising business. What inspired me to choose my major and minor was my love for baseball and wanting to work for a professional Sports team in the future. I currently use loans to pay for College. I’ve used TAP twice and have had a positive experience with it. I have 4 siblings and I am currently the 3rd one who has attended college. As of financial aid, it does cover me fully with loans. I usually work full time in the summer to catch up with the loans. I’m not worried about paying my loans, Just worried about what career I will have.

Donald Glivens, Borough of Manhattan Community College

I am a senior at BMCC and I am majoring in Business Management. I am planning on continuing my education at a four year college to get my bachelor’s degree. I live with my parents, but they can’t afford to pay for my college expenses. So I have to take out loans in order to pay for my education. I take out subsidized loans through FASFA. It covers all of my school expenses but it doesn’t cover my textbooks, transportation, or food. Also, I have to help support my family, so I have to work two jobs to afford other expenses. This makes it difficult for me to concentrate on my education. In order to graduate I needed to take a certain class that wasn’t offered my last semester. This forced me to take out more loans because I had to go to school for an extra semester. I am really worried about paying these loans back in the future. I wish they would make college free for everyone, so I wouldn’t have to be so overwhelmed about paying for my education.

Elianny Duarte, SUNY Cortland

I am a full time student at SUNY Cortland. I am a senior majoring in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology and a minor in Spanish. I am from the East side Bronx, NY. I come from a single-parent family of 4. When applying for college, I was accepted in different schools and I had different options. However, I was only able to apply to SUNY or CUNY schools because that was all my mom was able to afford and barely. I always wanted to go away for college and one day my high school took us on a school trip to come visit SUNY Cortland and ever since then I started seeing it as an option. I fell in love with the Student Life Center and the peaceful environment at SUNY 

Cortland so I decided to commit it to the school. I pay for tuition through the help of financial aid and student loans. Most of my tuition is paid through financial aid, which is helpful, but it is still not enough. Being able to pay my student loans is something that concerns me the most. I used to have two jobs. During the summer and winter breaks, I work almost every day to help pay for my personal expenses, and I also have a part-time job at school, but it’s not nearly enough to save for my student loans. My mom tries her best to help but there is so much she can do as a caregiver of a single family. I believe college should be free for low income families. Since attending college is almost required in today’s culture in order to secure a well-paying career, I don’t think it’s fair that tuition is so expensive. Students must also pay for their textbooks each semester in addition to tuition. I firmly believe that textbooks should be covered by tuition even if they may cost several hundred dollars. 

My family and I experienced some difficulty during the epidemic. My mother sadly lost her job during COVID-19. The amount of government assistance we received to support our family of four was not enough. It was challenging for a while, and there was even a point when I believed I would have to return home to finish my education. I believed that I would never be able to go to school since money was so tight. I used the majority of my funds to assist my mother with her bill-paying. Nevertheless, I was able to get a job online and assist my mother for the rest of the year. 

Having a college degree is very important for me because it won’t only allow me to have better paying jobs, but it would also allow me to help my family get out of poverty. One of my biggest concerns is having to pay student loans for the rest of my life. I am hoping that one day everyone is able to attend college without having to worry about money.

Anthony Williams, Hunter College

I am a graduate student at Hunter College majoring in Computer Science. During my undergraduate and masters, I received no assistance paying for tuition. This is extremely difficult when taking summer classes where 2 courses alone can cost up to $3000. I have not taken out any loans yet as I work and my parents pay out of pocket but I might have to for the remaining of my masters. Increased CUNY funding and more financial support for graduate students would help alleviate the financial burden I am facing.

Samantha Healey, SUNY Cortland

I am a double major in English and Professional Writing. I transferred to SUNY Cortland in Fall 2020, and am on my last semester. Why Cortland? I’m a homebody and wanted to be able to afford to travel home often. My credits from community college would also transfer well if I picked a SUNY school. Throughout five and a half years of college, I have been able to receive FAFSA, TAP, and Pell Grants. My mom has taken out “Parent Plus” loans for me, and I have taken out loans myself. I’ve had to pay out of pocket a couple semesters to cover the last bit that the government wouldn’t. 

Though I have been thankful to not pay as much, I’m still worried about college tuition. As I’ve heard many say, college feels like a scam. You are to pay all this money, but you are not always guaranteed a full-time job right after graduating. You are, however, guaranteed a large sum of student debt. I cannot say I completely disagree. College is highly beneficial in that you grow as a person in more ways than you can count. Yet, it doesn’t always seem worth the money. I’ve seen people graduate, only to find any part-time job that can guarantee them enough to pay off their debt and bills each month. 

What’s one thing that can change? The requirements of the Excelsior Scholarship. This is a program that seems reasonable, receiving tuition-free semesters as long as you work in the state for as long as you participate in the program. What the application doesn’t tell you is if you take any time off from school in the time you are completing your degree, you are not eligible. The Excelsior Scholarship came out when I was about to be done with community college. I took a gap year between that and Cortland, to make sure I was pursuing what I genuinely wanted to. I also needed to save up money and secure a more reliable form of transportation. When I started in Cortland, I applied to this program but was denied because I had a break between semesters. It was disheartening, as I knew I’d be a full-time student for the rest of my college career and would really benefit from this program. 

I can only hope that the expensive education I have, and will continue, to pay for, pays off. There is still much to do to secure better higher education for all. With this change will come more educated and caring individuals that can have brighter futures, changing the world for the better one degree at a time.

Sammie Maitland, Hunter College

Azania “Sammie” Maitland is a Junior at Hunter College who majors in Political Science and Minors in Legal Studies. After completing her undergraduate studies she will enter graduate school to study Public Policy. Upon completing her education she intends to begin a career in public service because she wants to help make the world a better place. She pays for school with a mix of TAP, Pell grants, and loans. She takes a part-time course load to balance focusing on her studies and community advocacy – which means she receives less aid and has to take out more loans to make up the difference. She has some concerns about paying back loans once she fully completes her education, but hopes that tax credits or that other avenues for student debt relief will be made available in New York State.

Iftakar Bakhsh, Borough Manhattan Community College

My name is Iftakar Bakhsh. I am majoring in Business Management. I am planning to go to a four-year college to achieve my Bachelor’s degree. I live with my parents, so they pay for my college expenses. I used to get financial aid but now I don’t get full cover for tuition and other expenses like textbooks, transportation, food and shelter due to my parents’ income. My parents pay out of their pocket which is hard for them because they have a hard time to have enough money. So, they sometimes have to borrow from our family members and pay them back later which puts my parents in debt. Both of my parents have to work in order to pay for my tuition, other college expenses, rent, and food.  I wish that they can make colleges free for everyone. This can help my parents, so they don’t feel stressed about paying for my college expenses.

Samuel Davenport III, Nassau Community College

I am a first year student at Nassau Community College. Currently, I am studying Liberal Arts, but my goal is to switch to IT. I am paying for school both with unsubsidized loans and out of pocket. However, I am an out-of-state student, so the tuition is double for me. My mom and I are splitting the remaining balance after loans half and half. At first, she was paying it all, but then I got a job and offered to help out.

Paying for school is far more expensive than I thought, and it’s a challenge working and going to school at the same time. Pretty much all the money I’m making is being dedicated to school. That’s why I try to make sure I’m doing well in school; because the money that my mother and I are spending would go to waste if I don’t.

I am a full time student and work almost full time – about 30 hours a week. It takes a lot of discipline and focus to make sure I can still do well in school while balancing all the hours at work. When I first started working, I thought I would only be working 20 hours a week, but I needed to increase my hours to help pay for school. If I had the option, I would only work 20 hours, so that I could spend my time doing readings for class and getting a really good handle on the material. Balancing school, work, sleep, and personal time is definitely not easy, but with a lot of dedication and determination, it’s manageable.

Being at a commuter school in a suburban area makes transportation hard too. Depending on the day of the week, I either borrow my cousin’s car, someone drops me off at school, or I get an Uber. However, I uber more than anything else. I usually spend about $60 a week on Ubers, but the real money issue is tuition.