by Jordan Woodside
My name is Jordan. I am a college student in Massachusetts and I come from Delaware. Since I was a child living in a rough home environment, it had been my dream to go away to a university far from home. In Delaware, I was an honor roll student, the Chair of the Civic Studies Honor Society at my school, and I graduated with a 3.4 GPA. But I wanted more, I needed to be somewhere new, start fresh, and become the best I could be in our world. Coming here however I found the reality of being a UMass-Boston student to be rather dystopian.
I have to work so much to afford the rent at the recommended apartment complex next to the school. To lower my monthly tuition payments, I had to drop courses almost every semester, which resulted in my GPA to drop an entire point. Finding a balance between work and school has been nearly impossible when my tuition payments are equal to my rent. The school has tried it’s best to meet my need but there are just not enough resources for out-of-state students like me.
I’ve spoken to many different administrators at UMass-Boston about any other aid or help I could look for and I was told to apply for social security or state rental assistance. That is, the government would rather give me welfare and more loans than pay for my education outright! I found an internship at the Massachusetts State House, which was an incredible opportunity, but of course, it was unpaid. There were some private scholarships I could have applied to but their deadline/timeline did not correspond to when I needed to do the internship…
While I am anticipating taking only two courses, instead of five this coming semester, I was made aware that if I jumped some more hoops, I might have access to more unsubsidized loans, which would allow me to take more courses. That is, I would need to ask my father to apply to a loan and get denied. Then I would be eligible for more unsubsidized loans. But I know that loans cannot be the answer, there has to be a better solution.
We live in a rich country, shouldn’t there be enough funding for affordable higher education? There is 5 billion for a wall? What about my college? There are many students here at UMass-Boston that need adequate financial aid so they can get the most out of the university experience they are paying multiple years’ salary for. Yet, they raise parking fees and tuition rather than addressing the issue. Granted they are, to some extent, powerless as Massachusetts legislature decides the budget and has historically underfunded the humble UMass-Boston.
I hope something will be done soon at the state or national level to end this insanity and give the people of my generation the education we have worked 12 long years for and deserve just as other nations north of our border and across the Atlantic have done.