Commentary: My West Virginia State University Experience

My freshman year was my best year of college. I had many scholarships, grants and loans. The financial aid staff at State was very helpful until I got older.

My first and second semesters of my sophomore and junior years were my most difficult experiences of my college career. I often had to choose: Go to class or go to work so I could pay the bills.

Unfortunately, I had to stay out of college for two years. I could not pay my tuition and afford to live on campus at the same time. Because of my out-of-state status, I was not given much financial assistance.

Here are some of the cons of being an out-of-state student at West Virginia State University:

  1. No state grants or scholarships
  2. The state of West Virginia offers eligible students scholarships or grants for staying in state to attend college. When students attend a college in a different state, they cannot take advantage of the free money to help them pay for college.
  3. Some state schools, like WVSU, will give merit scholarships to out-of-state students. However, the scholarships are not enough to cover the cost of attendance.
  4. Many students who attend state schools at an institution in another state will have to pay much of the tuition bill themselves.

In my second and third years at college, I realized what my high-school self could not have imagined: Go to class or be able to afford to eat. That is what many students face if they come from families that are not able to help.

I think attending college is more difficult for low-income students because they cannot afford to work unpaid internships. I did not necessarily come from a low-income family, but my family already had a ton of responsibilities, and those made it impossible to contribute toward my education. Sometimes I would hope my professors would understand when I had to miss class so I can go to work. Unfortunately, that was never the case.

There is a popular belief that the younger generation is lazy and entitled, but I do not think that people understand the amount of pressure college students are under. We are overworked and underpaid while trying to make ends meet. I would love for State to recognize our hard work and meet us halfway so we can achieve our dreams.

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