Student Voices {Support Public Higher Education}

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Christina's Voice


How have increased tuition fees impacted you and your family?:
I personally have avoided taking out a student loan or racking up a large credit card bill while in college, but avoiding debt has also come at a price. When I began my college career, my parents and I made an agreement: they would pay my tuition and I would pay for books, school supplies, and my living costs as I worked full time. At first this was plausible because I attended community college before transferring to SFSU and costs were fairly reasonable then. Each semester tuition prices increased and the number of classes offered seemed to decrease. Working full time did not give me the flexibility to take any class at any old time and as a result I found myself going to school part-time some semesters and taking up to 17 units the next. I recall a good five months where I did not have one day off or even a half day off in between my classes and work. I was exhausted and stressed. A similar pattern continued when I transferred to SFSU, only the stress level seemed to increase due to the overwhelming increase in tuition fees and the cost of commuting to school from the East Bay. In the meantime, the company I worked for was declaring bankruptcy and I was soon to lose my job. I had no other option but to lean on my family for help and they, being my family, were happy to oblige. I was unaware of how much of a strain it put on them or that they are currently $26,000 in credit card debt, due partially to my education expenses and largely to a $3,000 a month mortgage and rising living costs. At the start of 2009, with two classes left in order to complete my B.A., I dropped out of college and started work full time in the field I was attending school for. I felt that the opportunity was too good to pass up and that I could always finish up with night classes eventually. In addition, my family had been supporting me for the past year as I went to school and worked an unpaid internship and I needed to start pitching in. Three years later, I am back at school finishing up my degree, working part time, and barely paying my bills. Now, tuition costs are even higher, gas and transportation costs have increased, and I am still working on paying my parents back. In a sense I am in debt, maybe not to a credit card company or a student loan, but to the situation I put myself and my family in, which may be even worse. I hold a large amount of guilt for the financial trouble they are in. It is a pretty bad feeling to know my father will not be able to retire until he is 70 + years old and that I am not the prepared and successful adult I thought I would be at this age. There are things I would have done differently in terms of my college career, but the rising tuition costs and overall economic downfall have majorly contributed to my current situation.


What are you studying at SF State and what do you hope to do once you graduate?:
I am Technical and Professional Writing Major at SFSU. Upon graduation, I hope to continue working in the non-profit sector in resource development. I would also love to own my own second hand store one day.


Christina A., 28 Concord, CA



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