Tuition hike hurts students’ future

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By Jennifer Sandy / Staff Writer

Higher cost of education (Fresno State University)

By Jennifer Sandy / Staff Writer

California State University tuition fees will increase by at least 10 percent in the upcoming 2011-12 academic year.

Many Riverside City College students planning on graduating and transferring to one of the 23 Cal State campuses will be left scrambling to find a way to fund their continuing education.

For many, such as siblings Genevieve and Gerard Weaver, who are both graduating from RCC this semester, this means going into debt.

“Our only option is to take out a loan,” Gerard said. “It’s unfortunate, because when I graduate I don’t want to have to worry about paying something back.”

The same thing concerns Genevieve. “With both of us graduating and moving on at the same time, it means we’ll be thousands of dollars in debt by the time we graduate, respectively,” she said.

Others, such as Yvette Perales, work for a company that has agreed to pay for their education in exchange for full time work.

“It’s really nice because it takes such a huge burden off my family, and no matter how much the rates increase, I’m covered,” Perales said.

According to Perales, many companies offer to pay for their employees’ education if they have worked for the company full time for a year or more.

Some students’ parents had started a college fund for them but are now having to turn to the workforce to supplement it.

“My parents started a college fund for me when I was born,” said Alyssa Moore. “They put a little in each year, and a few years ago it was enough to fund four years of college. Now it isn’t. I’m looking for a full time job to help.”

There are college scholarships offered for arguably everything imaginable.

There are not only scholarships for being athletically gifted or having good grades, but also for being left-handed, having blue eyes, for being an animal lover and even for high school students who make their senior prom outfits out of nothing but duct tape.

With scholarships aplenty, many students take advantage of the opportunity and search for ones they qualify for.

Some are even surprising.

“I was granted a scholarship for being a natural redhead,” said Danielle Saunders, “It’s not much, it’s only paying for my books, but hey, it helps.”

Still, the most common option students use to help fund their education is financial aid.

It is estimated that over half of students who attend RCC receive some sort of financial aid and will continue doing so when they move on to a four year university.

“If it weren’t for financial aid, I wouldn’t be able to afford school,” said an anonymous student. “It pays for almost all of my fees when it comes to education and I really hope it continues when I graduate. I’m so thankful for it.”

Financial aid covers a broad spectrum of students, from those who need their tuition fully covered to those who need just a little extra help.

Those who work in the financial aid office at RCC encourage all students to apply, even if they think they may not qualify.

“You’d be surprised,” said one employee who wished to remain anonymous. “You never know what could happen. It doesn’t hurt to apply. Besides, who doesn’t need a little extra help when it comes to money?”

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