College is outrageously expensive, that much is known. I remember being a junior in high school, searching for higher education and my eyes widening at the estimated costs.
What I didn't know was that the average cost of tuition that Google displayed did not account for room and board, a meal plan, transportation fees, and many more expenses that I was expected to cover. Everything added up to large sums which calculated to even greater totals for my four years of attendance. It was extremely overwhelming and I scurried to apply for as many scholarships as I could.
The dreaded time to fill out the FASFA came.
I was puzzled because they asked about my parent's financial information and barely anything about my own. How did that make sense? I was the one who was paying for my college education. I had no college fund that my parents had started when I was a baby. I was raised in a middle-class family all of my life, my mother and father had no extra money to put aside for any of my siblings' higher education payments, my situation was no different. I always had food in front of me and clothes on my back (even if they were my older sister's hand-me-downs), why should that determine how much money I received to pay for college?
I think it's obvious to say that I picked the University of Rhode Island.
The only financial aid given to me were two federal loans. Loans.
Money that I had to pay back that had interest. I had worked my butt off in high school to obtain a 4.26 GPA, I was apart of the National and Rhode Island Honor Society, I was in the school chorus, I was even taking AP courses and extra credit courses to boost my academic standards and I received two scholarships which I am grateful for, but I can't help but feel disappointed that I only had won two and they were the amount of money that they were. I had to take out a private loan which is infamously known to have large interest rates. I am paying back the private loan every month and it is kicking me right in the behind. I have to work while trying to study for my biology exams and doing my writing class assignments so I can pay a loan. Looking at my bill for only one semester made my stomach churn, knowing I would spend thousands of dollars just to graduate.
I didn't account how much books were going to cost, either.
Even with sites like Chegg and Amazon, URI professors excel in assigning books that are exclusive only to the URI bookstore. I had to ask my sister to borrow a couple hundred greens just to buy my materials for this semester. Also, if you join a sorority or fraternity, there are member dues that you must pay for! While joining a sorority or frat is a choice, lifelong friends are typically made in Greek Life and you wouldn't want to miss out on the sisterhood or the brotherhood. FOMO is real.
Let us not forget the price of printing out paper and doing your laundry.
Buying a printer is an easy alternative to paying 25 to 35 cents just to print a single piece of paper, but laundry is a total scam. It costs $1.25 to wash and $1.50 to dry and while that doesn't seem like a lot, it adds up pretty quick because the dryers suck (you have to put your clothes through twice) and the machines always eat my quarters if I don't use my card. Do you guys want me to walk around in dirty laundry clothing?
I seriously debated becoming a stripper or a sugar baby to pay off my student loans.
I love URI and don't regret attending, but I know that I am going to have to work multiple jobs in the future to pay off loans and provide for my regular bills as well. I know there are students who need more help than I do, but why do I get almost nothing? I can't just take a whole semester's tuition out of one of my parent's paychecks! It is getting extremely difficult for any student to pay for college with the ever-rising cost of attendance. However, in today's society, to be hired for a job, you must have a college degree with a couple years of experience.
Why does the middle-class have to suffer in tremendous debt for most likely the rest of their life just to be able to be considered for a job?