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Posts Tagged ‘support services’

Latsha Lee, Bronx Community College

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I’m a psychology major and part of the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)– it is critical for me to be able to attend BCC. Before I enrolled in ASAP, I worked full-time and was a full-time student as well. It was difficult to manage everything: I am a mom – I have two young boys (5 and 6), working full-time, plus taking 5 classes, helping out with the rest of my family.

I’m loving the free MetroCard. Last semester, I actually lost my card and they weren’t able to replace it. ASAP told me there wasn’t enough funding to replace lost cards! I don’t make use of the campus child care center. Back when child care was a bigger issue for me, I didn’t pursue my education. If I had known about it, I would have enrolled at BCC much earlier.

I do have a fear of not graduating on time. If I lose my financial aid, or I’m no longer able to be enrolled in ASAP for whatever reason, I won’t be able to afford to continue. But ultimately, I want to go to City College after graduating from BCC, to pursue studying law in the future.

Zeke Luger, Queens College

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I am currently a senior majoring in Applied Mathematics, and after graduation I plan on pursuing a career in Quantitative Sociology. It is my eighth year of college due to mental and physical issues that have arisen and slowed down my ability to graduate within four years. The only reason why I was able to afford stretching out my years in CUNY was due to the fact that my parents have payed for my tuition over the years.

My parents, as well as grandparents, are CUNY alumni — they attended CUNY for free. This gave them the opportunity to pursue higher education being that they were coming from a low economic bracket. CUNY was a tool that gave them access to the professional class. This allowed me to go to college without needing financial aid. I have taken advantage of CUNY’s mental health services. I was very active in the social anxiety support group on campus where I really felt the extent of the budget deficit. The group did not have enough time to allow every student to contribute. This may have been due to a budget cut that did not provide enough staff to compensate for the large demand from students. So in order to have smaller groups they cut down the time of each group session.

Jade Cooper, City College of NY

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The trick to the financial aid office is you have to go super early to avoid the lines and crowd. The office itself isn’t too bad but calling them is the worst because you’re never going to reach anyone.  The problem is we need more workers, because three people at a desk trying to accommodate a hundred students at a time just doesn’t work.

We need a bigger office and it needs to open earlier so more people have access.

Dillon Johns, NYC College of Technology

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I am an Accounting and Finance major. I have had more trouble getting into my accounting classes, not my engineering (transferred from engineering to accounting). I tried to sign up 2-3 weeks before classes started and one of my classes was closed already. So I had to drop to a part-time course load this semester and hopefully it’s open the next one.

It hasn’t been easy finding an adviser. I went up to the accounting business finance department and I was greeted by a secretary and I was trying to get advisement and she’s like we don’t really do that here… I talked to a professor and he was like, “you know, I’m not really an adviser,” and he directed me to go online and find the information there. 

I’ve needed other services as well like mental health. I did go a couple times to the counselors. They were very nice to me but they really are there to just give you a referral. They did give me a good referral…but I had to pay for it out of my own pocket. It was expensive. If there were people who would do that here, it would help students a lot, financially.

In terms of physical space in our classes, I have been in a lot of situations where the teacher would give up his desk and people would sit at their desk and the professor just stands up and lectures the whole time. When I first signed up here – I was trying to go to class in one of the elevators [but it malfunctioned and] spit me out into a locked maintenance closet and I was sitting in there for like 20 minutes banging on the door. I eventually had to call 911 and the firefighters came up and opened the door. There were 10 firefighters and NYPD standing outside. Some of these elevators have been out of service for who knows how long.

The biggest reason I had to drop out of the electronics engineering program is because there was no support for people in the program. Any support there was you’d have to hopefully be available during your professor’s office hours, and even then they’re not obligated to do that. The lack of support- the lack of readily available tutors on a schedule that I could make is what led me to drop out of that program and seek something that was my second choice, just because there was nobody here.


Ariyah Adams, SUNY New Paltz

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I am currently a junior majoring  in communications with a concentration in public relations and double minoring in theater and business. I pay for tuition through TAP and Pell Grants, as well as take out loans to cover the the rest of my bill. After I graduate I plan on attending graduate school at either SUNY New  Paltz or a different SUNY. I am still undecided about that. I plan on paying for graduate school through applying for grants and scholarships.

Right now I am working two jobs, I work at the dining hall on campus and I have a work study job. I don’t depend on money from my parents so usually I pay for my textbooks and food on my own or a split the cost of the textbook with a friend or classmate in the same class as me. I am also a student at the Educational Opportunity Program at my school which has helped me a lot, getting through navigating financial aid. If this program didn’t exist I’m not sure if I would be in college. The EOP program has helped me grow into a strong individual and has offered me tutoring, mentors and advisors that always have my back.

Flor Najera, SUNY New Paltz

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I am a Public Relations major and Journalism minor.  I intend to graduate in December 2019. After college, I plan on attaining a stable job where I will pursue marketing and get a place of my own. However, I am not ruling out graduate school. I pay for school through financial aid as well as the two loans I took out. I feel blessed to be a part of the EOP program, where I have had an advisor and group of students in similar positions as me for the last four years helping me navigate the SUNY system.  I receive TAP and work study – I work at the student union front desk. I pay for textbooks through financial aid and receive a refund check of $150 per semester. In the case of that not being enough to afford all textbooks, I will turn to scanning or finding the electronic version.

Help also comes from Alumni donations to EOP that are applied toward paying for books.  I live on campus and have a meal plan that is paid for within financial aid. I do not make use of the childcare center located on campus, as I do not have any children. However, I still find the center to be beneficial because some of my professors bring their children there so they can teach for the day, which in turn allows me to receive an education. If I did not receive financial aid, I would still find a way to attend college, whether that be working as many shifts as possible, applying for scholarships, and loans.  It is important for me to receive at least a bachelor’s degree because of the difference it makes having one vs. not having one in the real world.

My family and I are immigrants. I am fortunate that I am able to attend college and receive a degree, and I am one of the first in my family to achieve this. My brothers did not go to college and had to work straight out of high school to help out my family financially. It’s tough because most businesses are expanding their credential requirements, most requiring a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. How can we work toward achieving what is required of us if it is not made available?


Lashanna Chance, Queensborough Community College

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I have been at Queensborough for two years studying music production. I am very invested in my classes but also produce and write my own music and poetry. I want people to see that I am a student, not a disability and actually working toward my goal of one day owning a record label. I am lucky to have great support at home and at QCC.

I do receive financial aid and I make sure I utilize every resource on campus. My advisers for VAPA (Visual and Preforming Arts) academy know me very well and help me to register for classes. I go to tutoring every day for statistics and writing. Everyone on campus knows me because I bother everyone. That is the only way to get help sometimes. My greatest issue here is getting around comfortably. I don’t even go to the student union where the NYPIRG office is because it is actually dangerous for me to wheel myself. 

For me, full funding for CUNY would mean open sourced or cheaper textbooks. Most of my books I can just get in the library, but it isn’t easy for me to get to the library, find a book and study with it for two hours. It is always too crowded and isn’t worth my time, so I just order my books. Also, accessibility could be way better. Most doors are not automatic. The double doors close on me. I’m pretty strong, but yesterday I was struggling to get through a door for 5 minutes! When elevators are broken, that is the worst. I have to leave for my class at least 45 minutes early from anywhere on campus just to make sure I get there on time. An unexpected broken elevator can be a big problem. 

Hussein Abdul, Bronx Community College

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At my local campus of BCC, we have recently experienced budget cuts across departments. This is no fault of BCC, nor is it unique to BCC. Across CUNY, institutions are experiencing cuts. This is a result of the lack of funding from our state government. When the state refuses to support our public institutions, who suffers the most, who is impacted? We, the students. It forces our colleges to recompense for their losses by increasing tuition. At an institution like BCC, and CUNY as a whole, where many of our students require financial assistance such as TAP, when tuition goes up and TAP stays the same, school’s budgets are hurt.

A great example of how students are affected by the lack of support from our state government is what has recently happened at BCC. Amongst the budget cuts, our library hours have been cut. Once again, this is not unique to BCC. Across CUNY, colleges are experiencing short library hours. It’s funny because when I was younger my mother would force my brother and I to go to the library. She would scream, and shout, and force us to go study when all we wanted to do was chill and relax. Yet, here we are today, screaming and shouting for access to the library–to be able to use the library past 5 o’clock on a Friday.

At the core of every academic institution, the library plays a significant role in student success. This wouldn’t fly at an institution such as Harvard or Columbia. How can we encourage a quality education, or 15 credits a semester/30 a year when students don’t have access to the library? This all stems from the lack of support from our state government. We’re not asking for the world, were just asking for access to the world.

Fadly Cherif, Buffalo State

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I am a junior with a double major in Political Science and Psychology, as well as a minor in International Relations. I came to the United States in 2015 seeking a better education. As an international student, I don’t get financial aid, I don’t get loans, and there are restrictions on how long and where I can work.  New York State’s disinvestment in state colleges has affected me in multiple ways. The lack of funding has resulted in overworked professors who don’t have time to assist students as much as they need to, crowded classrooms and health center, and expensive textbooks.

I’ve been working part time at the writing help center on campus to support myself while getting help from my parents to put myself through college. However, the college expenses are sometimes too much. For the past two years I’ve gone through my classes without ever getting the required textbooks. I would either rent them from third parties or borrow a friend’s. The state needs to fund colleges so as to minimize costs for students of all socio-economic backgrounds.

Rachael Adeloye, College of Staten Island

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I am a sophomore and currently a Liberal Arts major but I plan to become a police officer after I graduate.  I’ve worked with the police for the last two years during the summer and it’s been a real eye opener for me because I barely see any black female police officers there, and that’s something I’d like to change.

Unfortunately, my plans suffered a setback this year.  My GPA is too low to receive financial aid this semester, including the Excelsior Scholarship, but past semesters I did receive aid.   Without the aid my family and I have been struggling to find a way to pay for school out of pocket.  We now are living paycheck to paycheck, and even though there are a lot of things we would like to do, due to lack of funds we can no longer do them.

As a person who was not born in this country, I feel like the system is not set up in a way that enables me to succeed.  For example, I’m doing poorly in my English 151 class and my professor tells me I don’t know how to write to an American standard, but then he doesn’t have the time to teach me how to correct it.  A fully funded CUNY would mean that professors would be able to spend more time with each student, more student services would be available to help students like me improve skills like writing, and I could commit to being a full-time student without burdening myself or my family.