A college degree is a near-requisite for competing in today’s job market. Yet, since the Great Recession, funding for higher education has been dramatically cut; tuition has been hiked five of the past six years, jumping $1,500 and financial aid and opportunity programs which serve New York’s most at-risk students have been under-resourced year after year.
Mounting costs are not reserved to tuition. Textbooks, transportation, housing, childcare and food expenses can be significant barriers to a college degree. The recently proposed Excelsior Scholarship is laudable, but does little to help low-income students and excludes many, including undocumented students and part-time students.
This is the reality New York college students face.
For too long, New York has not provided adequate funding for colleges and universities, and that has had real consequences. Students are stepping up across the state to tell their stories through NYPIRG’s Online Higher Education Storybank project.
Hear from students like Queens College’s Beena Kanhailall, who works 60 hours a week to afford tuition and her pre-law textbooks, or Borough of Manhattan Community College’s Sapphire Garris, a mother of a one year old who is able to go to school because of opportunity program-funded daycare, or Buffalo State College’s Shahadah Williams, who wonders if she’ll have to choose between buying food or preparing for graduate school.
Visit the web-based storybank here: www.nypirgstudents.org/storybank, where you can read dozens of stories, or filter the bank by school, students’ NY Assembly or Senate districts, or by tagged keywords.
If you would like to speak with any of the students who participated in the project, please contact the corresponding NYPIRG chapter or email NYPIRG Program Director Megan Ahearn, firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about our Higher Education Affordability work, please contact NYPIRG Campaign Organizer Emily Skydel, email@example.com.