In a tough economy, students across the country are struggling to pay for college. According to finaid.org, two-thirds of 4-year graduating seniors left school with some debt in 2009-10. The average student loan? $23,186 (excluding PLUS Loans but including Stafford, Perkins, state, college and private loans)
At CCNY, in the face of tuition hikes and tight funds, some students have help from their parents-while others don’t. Does it matter?
“There is never an easy yes or no answer for who should pay for college,” says Garri Rivkin, a college assistant at the CCNY Career Center.
“One would think that students who have to pay for school would give greater commitment to their study, while those students whose parents are paying for school to take it less seriously,” he adds. “On the other hand, those students whose parents pay for them might actually work harder in school because their parents, who have either taken out loans or are paying out of pocket, demand that their child does the best they can in school.”
Jodyann Raymond’s parents pay for her education, but she’s no slacker. “If I had to pay my own tuition I don’t know what I would do,” says Raymond, 21, who also works on campus. “If my parents didn’t pay my tuition I wouldn’t be in school.”
Rivkin says he feels for students who are paying their own way through school. They are generally also picking up the bill for living expenses-and sometimes supporting children and parents. “Trying to pay for everything might actually hurt the student when it comes to devoting time for studying,” says Rivkin. “Many students who do work, do so after school and in the evening. When they come home they are ready for bed, not for studying.”
Sasha-gaye Palmer says she’s often exhausted by all that she has to do. A full-time student, she also works full time and takes care of her two-year-old daughter. “Believe me it really gets hard sometimes,” says Palmer, 24 (in photograph with her daughter).“Because my parents can’t afford to pay for my tuition I’m the one stuck paying for it.”
Palmer says that she has friends who drop classes just because they aren’t responsible for the tuition bill. But she can’t afford to take a class over. She says she doesn’t know what she would do without financial aid.
Does it make a difference, ultimately, who foots the bill?
“You should work just as hard whether you are someone else is paying,” says Kimone Wright, 21 year old senior. “Money is money, and it doesn’t comes easy. Whether you get a scholarship, financial aid, or pay out of pocket you should work just as hard because in the end you’re the one benefiting from it.”