Students reveal how they deal with tuition

Veronica Martin, Contributing Writer

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Using a variety of methods, students are navigating the sometimes-challenging task of how to pay their college tuition.

Nicole Brown-Glenn, a junior family and consumer sciences major, said she has a hard time paying for her tuition.Brown-Glenn does not receive the Monetary Award Program grant, which is available to students in Illinois, because her parents moved to Arizona during her sophomore year of college.

“My parents’ move put a huge financial burden on my shoulders,” she said. “The MAP grant I received freshman year was over $3,000.”

When Brown-Glenn stopped receiving the MAP grant, she applied for a student disadvantage waiver and received $1,000. The student disadvantage waiver grants students with parents who live out of state a certain amount of money to help cover student tuition, Brown-Glenn said.

“I feel that the MAP grant should be extended to students who live in state instead of their parents,” she said. “It puts too much of an expense on students that cannot control where their parents choose to live.”

Brown-Glenn currently lives off campus and receives the Parent PLUS loan to help her afford her tuition.

Tonnesha Johnson, a junior pre-nursing major, has been teaching herself how to understand her financial loans.She said her goal is to start paying back her tuition with the refund checks she receives each semester.She lives off campus this school year and has received a fairly large refund check from the Parent PLUS loan.

“I don’t think most students are aware that there is also an interest rate on refund checks that students receive,” Johnson said. “Instead of spending it, the smart thing to do is to give it back.”

Parrish Amos, a junior English major, said he is worried about finding a stable income to pay his college loans after graduation. Amos’ parents do not help him financially with paying for school.

Because of this, he takes out his own private loans and uses scholarships to help him pay for his tuition. Amos said the amount of interest charged on loans is overwhelming.

“Students already have a large bill on their own when they graduate,” he said. “I feel that students do not receive a fair enough break with the interest changed on loans.”

Most students have a six-month grace period to start paying back their school loans after graduation.According to the Office of Financial Aid’s website, the interest rate for unsubsidized and subsidized loans in the 2017/2018 academic year is a 4.45 percent.

This interest rate has increased from the previous 2016/2017 year by 0.69 percent.

Juncel St Cloud, a senior psychology major, is an independent student, meaning she did not use her parents’ information to fill out the FAFSA.With graduation around the corner for St Cloud, she is feeling the pressure of having to gain financial stability after leaving Eastern.

“I am currently in a lot of debt with college loans, and since graduation is coming up I am under more stress,” she said.

St Cloud is now trying to figure out how she is going to pay her tuition back.

She  said she thinks students should have a year grace period instead of six months to start paying their tuition back.

“Not all students will have stable income so quickly after graduation,”St Cloud said. “It is hard to find a job in my field with just a bachelor’s degree. I am going to have to work possibly two jobs when I graduate to pay back my tuition.”

Veronica Martin can be reached at 581-2812  or [email protected]