OPINION: Financial aid must cover additional coursework expenses

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By John Michael Guerrero

College is expensive, especially for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math majors.

Programs at Riverside City College, like the Promise Program, appear like great alternatives for assistance with college expenses.

In reality, programs like this don’t go far enough in many cases. They can only help students with expenses directly connected to the college and do not cover third-party costs for coursework.

Financial aid is designed to aid students in college costs, but it is highly misleading. This design is due to too many courses usually associated with Computer Informations Systems courses relying on third-party websites to supply students with course materials, virtual labs and assignments.

Having experienced this issue firsthand, I found it frustrating when I was told the Promise Program would be unable to cover the financial costs of my course materials from Cengage. As a college student who does not receive much from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), personal spending on basic needs and coursework is stressful.

Knowing I am not the only student who struggles with these hidden costs for higher education is frustrating.   

The biggest complaint I’ve come across is that the costs of supplemental course material are not covered by financial aid, let alone included in the net course fees. This leads to many students unexpectedly paying out of pocket.   

The same issue is extended to General Education classes.

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