Financial stress plagues college students

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A question often enters the minds of college students: do those who run institutions have any knowledge of what it is actually like to be a student? Sometimes, it feels like the institution is working against us in all aspects of our education, leading us to feel they really don’t get it.

For example, a problem plaguing students right now is payment for the spring semester. If you are in the position that you owe the university money for the next semester, the first payment is due Dec. 10 — that’s right, before finals week is even over, as if we don’t have enough to stress about already.

This may come as a shock to the university, but some of us are actually responsible for our own payments (not our parents) and having to make them before the fall semester adds to the anxiety we already have.

Additionally, if you are among the lucky few to receive a refund from grants or scholarships, you won’t receive that money until several weeks into the spring semester, which is challenging if you use that money to buy textbooks (which many of us do).

It seems that the university and its billing/refunding system assume we all have the support of our (apparently wealthy) parents; either that or it simply doesn’t care how it affects us.

There are probably many things going unconsidered here, such as how the billing relates to enrollment and scheduling, and there is probably a reasonable explanation for it, but wouldn’t it be nice if the university could do something to help its students succeed financially instead of causing us to suffer?

The same could also be said about university jobs: many of us need university jobs because our schedule is so rigorous that a regular part-time job wouldn’t be able to work around it, but there isn’t any opportunity to make more than minimum wage (as you could in an off-campus job).

On top of that, problems with the payroll are so common they can almost be counted on, which creates an issue for those of us who need that money to live (as in: pay rent and buy food).

It would be interesting to see if the university is able to do anything to alleviate some of these financial difficulties its students are encountering simply because they are students. Getting a college degree isn’t easy and it isn’t cheap, so anything a university could do to help would be greatly appreciated.

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