You may have seen the New York Times cover story about the problems at CCNY and CUNY in general. In response, our administration circulated a series of letters, supporting the college. Below, a letter from an unidentified, formerly homeless honors student:
The New York Times article “Dreams stall as CUNY, New York City’s Engine of Mobility, Sputters” disappointed me with its negative portrayal of the CUNY system. As a student I can attest to the validity of some of the complaints mentioned in the article, such as problematic building infrastructure, budget cuts and overcrowded classrooms. However I must stress that despite these issues my experience at City College has been overwhelmingly positive.
My acceptance into the honors program at CCNY over two years ago drastically changed my life for the better. Prior to attending college I was a straight A high school student but I faced many struggles as a homeless teenager. I worked multiple jobs at a time to provide the bare necessities that I and my younger sister needed to survive and my financial situation led me to believe that I could never afford to attend college. Although I was accepted to every school I applied to, including a few Ivy Leagues, I was disheartened but not surprised that even with financial aid and partial scholarships I could not attend any of these schools. Therefore when City College offered me a full scholarship I was incredibly excited and quickly seized the opportunity to continue my education.
Choosing to attend a CUNY is the best decision I have ever made. Not only is my tuition covered but the support system I have found from professors and the City College Fund has been amazing. I am a double major in English and History and after I complete my bachelor’s degrees I will also be pursuing a master’s degree in history at this college. While humanities departments are notorious for being underfunded I feel that my professors do their absolute best with the resources they are given and I am thankful for all of the knowledge they have passed onto me. The majority of my professors have wonderful personalities and are patient, helpful and understanding when interacting with their students. I generally take five or six classes per semester and while I find the workload manageable my classes are definitely not easy A’s, I put in a lot of effort to maintain my 3.8 GPA.
In addition to my academic opportunities I must also praise the City College Fund for all of the assistance they have given me in improving my living situation. My job as one of their assistants surpasses any other employment I have previously had and I have been able to save enough money to finally move out of the homeless shelter where I resided for five years. I have met many great and wonderful people through this job and my skill set in communications and research has vastly improved.
In short the opportunities that I am receiving at City College are enabling me to receive a first rate education that otherwise would have been inaccessible. The many benefits that have already resulted from this education allow me to look ahead to my future with confidence. I am grateful for City College and for all those whose support enables this institution to keep its door open to students such as myself.