Posts Tagged ‘transit’

Rory, College of Staten Island

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I am a freshman, and my major is undecided but I’m looking to go into social work. I am taking out government loans which doesn’t cover my full tuition. The rest is covered through a savings account from my dad.

Textbooks are the most stressful cost. I just got work study placement and the money will go toward food, textbooks, and bus transportation. What CSI needs to have is more shuttle buses for people all over Staten Island. It is the closest CUNY to me and still so hard to get to.



Anny Mariano, Queensborough Community College

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I am a freshman psychology major. I would like to eventually work at a school and work with teenagers or do social work. I receive the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and the Pell Grant and I am looking for a job to pay for the bus, food and clothes. I didn’t qualify for ASAP because they said I had too many remedial courses. But I had taken those classes in the summer already. When I went to try again to appeal, the spots in ASAP were already filled up. If I was able to get into ASAP I would get my metrocard covered which would be a huge help. I am the first person in my family to go to college. My family and I are from the Dominican Republic. If I didn’t get financial aid I’d have to take out loans. I am trying to work to save money in case there is a semester that I don’t get enough financial aid.

Royland Robinson, Nassau Community College

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I pay for some of my education through financial aid.  Books and transportation, I have to pay for out of pocket, because the amount of money that I get from FASFA is not really enough.  I take the bus most of the time and sometimes ask for rides from family members if I can. The price of books has definitely increased over the past few years. And that’s been kind of hectic. Especially for someone like me who has arthritis. I have been living with arthritis since I was 6 years old and the medication costs $2,000 a month.  

Being able to graduate from high school was a big achievement for me. And now that I was able to do that, I’m not going to let anything stop me. I just want to keep moving forward and be as successful as possible so I can pursue my career goals in the future.

Tobin Nestoiter, Brooklyn College

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I pay for the majority of my tuition through the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), and I have to pay out of pocket for the rest of my tuition and other costs which these programs don’t cover. In addition, since TAP takes an excessively long time to process for me, I  sometimes have to pay, on average, about  $1,500, up front.  This is to ensure that my classes do not get dropped in the beginning of the semester. Some semesters my classes do get dropped, without my knowledge, or any warning that there was a standing balance.  This is a huge problem, because due to limited class availability, seats fill up in classes very quickly.

I always expect TAP to not process properly for me, so I work during the summer to try to avoid this. Because I have to work long hours to make money in the summer, I lose the opportunity  to pursue internships related to my career goals.  My only  challenge should be learning new material, not dealing with all the hassles of getting into classes. Not to mention,  high tuition is not the only challenging cost that I am faced with. Books, transportation, and food are also costly and finding money for these expenses is equally difficult. This strain is not only taking a toll on my finances, but also on my health. The panic of finding out that my classes are dropped, that it might be too late to re-register, being forced to take a semester off, and struggling to afford all of these costs, has taken a toll on my mind and body. 

Humaira, Queensborough Community College

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I use financial aid to pay my tuition in college. I qualify for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). However, the TAP award is too low.  It should be more.   I have to buy books, food, and pay for transportation costs and housing.

This semester, my textbooks cost almost $300 and  my metrocard costs $120 per month. Because I am a full-time student in college, it is not possible to work.  I hope I am going to graduate on time so that I do not run out of TAP money.



Zun Kit Ooi, Queensborough Community College

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I am currently relying on my parents’ income to support me, but to be honest, a lower-middle class family supporting two children in college is hard. So I am forced to work in order to pay for school.

My schedule is so tight because I must work until 12 or 1 AM for a restaurant and still take a full-time course load to qualify for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).  I am also paying for my own textbooks. As a student who majoring in biology, textbooks are a major burden on my wallet.   I am also paying for my own transportation.


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.

Mehnaz Sultana, Purchase College

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Luckily, I do not have any student loans as of now but, it does seem like something I might need in the future.  One reason I am actually in college I would say is because the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) exists and the support they provide.  Right now, I’m not taking any loans, but I am struggling. I am a commuter so I have to actually spend two-three hours sometimes commuting depending on when I miss a train or something.

Either I spend more time, or I spend more money.  So, if you’re not in economic debt, then you are in mental debt.   I am totally, I don’t function half of the time. I’m so tired when I come to class, I’m just trying to stay awake. If I didn’t have to commute and if I could live on campus and get up and go to my classes it would be awesome.  I’m pretty sure my grade would not suffer as much as they do right now. It’s hard to balance that time.

Mathew DePeña, Borough of Manhattan Community College

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I am a veteran who served in the United States Air Force for 4 years active duty and 1 year Air National Guard for New Jersey. With the completion of my contract, I received funding for education through the 9/11 GI Bill. This bill pays for 48 months of school, including tuition and part of my cost of living.  I pay for my monthly metrocard, New Jersey transit monthly pass, textbooks, food and rent out of pocket.

Because my textbooks are all at least $200 each, I’ve chosen not to buy any of them this semester.  I just go to library.  If I want to do any reading or studying I have to go to the library and can’t take the book home.   As for the rest of these costs, if they were covered I could use the money I make toward investing in my future career instead of just getting by month to month.  I’ve started a record label but I can’t invest in it the way that I want.  This is stalling my career aspirations.  I really want this microphone that Michael Jackson used in all of his records and that one of my favorite rappers, Logic, is using.  But it’s $400 — which is the price of my metrocard and NJ transit monthly tickets combined.  I’m also trying to buy a house, which would be expedited if I didn’t have all of these costs.