Student Voices {Support Public Higher Education}

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Ginamarie's Voice

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How have increased tuition fees impacted you and your family?:
I am the first one in my immediate family to go to a four year university after graduating high school. My family had to navigate the entire college process--from applying to schools, finding housing, and applying for much needed financial aid--on our own, with little guidance. Since I have been a student at SF State, tuition has increased every semester, while I have received less financial aid. Due to fee increases, budget cuts, and the pitfalls of the FAFSA, my financial aid these last two semesters has not even covered my full tuition, much less books, supplies, housing, food, gas, and other basic necessities. I work 30 hours a week, am a full time student, and intern with a local non profit 32 hours a month. As I write this, I am accepting a second job on top of these responsibilities and still do not know how I am going to pay my rent this month. My family does the best they can to support me financially; it's only gotten harder after my mother lost her job and my father's small business continues to barely break even. This year, my mother drained her 401k--her entire life's savings--to save our home. Due to this unfortunate turn of events, the FAFSA regarded my family as a family with an income of at least $100,000 per year; obviously, this is not a true reflection of my family's ability to support me while I am in school. However, it was reason enough to cut my financial aid significantly, despite petitions and current income information from myself as well as my parents. I am an incredibly driven student, and I will do whatever it takes to continue my education, but as an accomplished student with an above average GPA who works extremely hard to get by, it's difficult to constantly be bombarded with fee hikes.


What are you studying at SF State and what do you hope to do once you graduate?:
I am a second year Women and Gender Studies major; I'm also in the process of completing the Conflict Resolution Certificate program at SF State. When I graduate (which I plan to do in four years, because there is no way I can afford to be in school for my BA any longer) I plan on applying for the Peace Corps, the WGS master's program at SF State, and the public interest law program at UC Hastings. I currently intern with the local non profit San Francisco Women Against Rape and hope to work with non-profits in the future. I also hope to write feminist theory and teach at the university level.


Ginamarie G., 20 Petaluma, CA



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