CUNY Tuition Hikes: Not Holding Students Back

A college tuition hike protest which occurred infront of a local college. (Photo by Beth Fertig via wnyc.org)

A college tuition hike protest which occurred infront of a local college. (Photo by Beth Fertig via wnyc.org)

By Michael Balbuena

College already coming with a high price tag is what causes people to hesitate when deciding to take the leap in pursuing a higher education. In the Bronx according to the city data website the rise in poverty rates effect; there are not many who are capable of affording such bills and still keeping a roof over ones head.

Education has been slightly lacking due to the fact that all people truly wish to do is make enough money to survive in society. College being one of keys to deciding the future that best suits a person is a place dedicated to those who have a goal in life, and are currently fighting to make their dreams come true. Recently there has been a roadblock that presented itself to future college goers and academic workers, which is the policy of student loans in the educational system. Because of the lack of understanding and cooperation in the senate new college loans being taken out have now doubled in interest bringing the total of interest on new loans to a whopping 6.8 – 7.9 percent according to the Washington Post. This is causing doubt to arise in students and those, which are currently in the middle of the battle.

While speaking to people on the Lehman College Campus in the Bronx we hear the thoughts, and expectations of everyday students, and there half on what they believe should be done to find a solution.

A local high school and middle class student interested in photography and art on campus, 17 year-old Carla Ponce who was born outside of the U.S., has always had college in her sights, and explains why she sees the interest loan hike as a strike against the future of America.

When first receiving the news the shock came not as suddenly as the facts were not yet al clear, but after understanding the truth new thoughts came to her mind on how she would navigate through her obstacles. Knowing that college is not an easy place to access she said that she would be willing to work while attending classes to help relieves some of the pressure financially. This at first sounds like a terrific idea, but the pressure of this type of multitasking could prove detrimental to her academics. Carla then goes on to say “It’s unfair” when referencing the ratio of diversity in future student bodies seeing that not as many Latin American and black families are as well off as others. Leaving those who are not as certain about their future as were before Carla hopefully said “Yes we can.”

A 19 year-old non-Lehman attending college student Eliany Gomez who is currently in her second year of college going through the struggles in her pursuit in becoming a worker in human care gives us her experiences so far in the typical system and workings of college. Originally born in the Dominican Republic where education is not seen as greatly important, Gomez wanted to show that she had what it takes to accomplish anything. Entering college with the help of grants and scholarships, she said that she has not yet seen the full effects of these actions but intends to continue her career after her grants become lower in value. Currently unemployed she takes her education seriously, and says she tries to avoid as many complications as possible, but said “I try to enjoy the little things” showing her interest in her environment. Ultimately, she said that the interest loan hike will not affect her future studies.

Julian Lopez, an 18 year-old Ecuadorian born in the Bronx, on campus also shared his views on the new of the hike in college interest loans and how he plans on continuing his dreams of studying law. Starting off positively Julian said “College is one of the greatest experiences in life because of the fact that you are exposed to different people that one would not meet outside of the current circumstances. Meeting new people gives you a certain perspective on life that one would not get if new experiences are not taken.” Lopez also said that if money became an issue that he would look for jobs near campus to help relieve stress of not being able to pay tuition.

At no time during the interview/questioning did he state that he would not attend college if he were having to pay more. “It’s real life” Lopez said when referring to the fact that there are no boundaries or limits in seeking what make him happy.

Future plans have been put in place with senate in order to have another hearing on the student loan hike, and decide whether or not to drop the interest rate back down to its norm.

As of now current college goers and high school students moving on to college in the near future are holding their plans of receiving higher education close, and the hike in interest on loans are not immediately dampening their spirits. If any future obstacles arise there is always a way to overcome them say these students.

College is something that no amount of money can stop students from getting into. College is a part of life that can shape a person into someone who can change the world.

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