SGA stands up to GBPI about the burden of financial aid.
On Sept. 30, the Student Government association sat down with Jennifer Lee, policy analyst from Georgia Budget and Policy Institute for a listening session. SGA had a chance to answer questions about how attending VSU affects their daily lives.
“We started doing these listening sessions a few years ago. Basically, it’s pretty informal, I have a few guided questions to guide our conservations,” Jennifer Lee said.
The meeting consisted of questions asking why the students attend college and what obstacles they face as students attending VSU. SGA member Senator Lauren Canady said that the structure of school makes it seem like you must take one specific pathway to reach the career you desire.
Other SGA members shared her sentiments.
“I’ve had a lot of trouble with advisors on campus,” Senator Bob Greenbaum said. “A lot of people are having a hard time with their advisors and they’re telling them they need to take a certain class when they don’t.”
The new requirement of more specific pathways could cause students to take more classes than they signed up for and spark more complications leading to students having to take extra classes.
SGA all shared one common obstacle many other VSU students face: financial stability. Senator Alexis Smith says that school has definitely became a financial burden.
“I am putting myself through school and it is really, really hard,” Smith said. “I am a working, full-time college student and there just isn’t enough hours in the day for me to accomplish everything.” The VSU retention rate since August 31, 2017 is 69%, while the transfer-out rate is 32% according to College Tuition Compare. The financial stability of students at VSU could be one of the causes of these rates.
“My first year of college I went to UGA and UGA is outrageously expensive,” Senator Aubree Cooper said. “I couldn’t afford to go to UGA. I could afford to go to VSU, but that’s because I don’t live on campus, I don’t have a meal plan.”
Around campus, students could not agree more.
“VSU wasn’t my first choice but I got accepted here, and I feel like I’ve been broke ever since,” Jada Hill, a sophomore business major, said. “I’m covered in student loans.”
It seems like the only students that are financially stable in college are those who have scholarships and extra financial help.
“I am attending VSU because it has my major and concentration but for a lower tuition,” Esther Darko, a sophomore biology major, said. “I use a mixture of loans and scholarships to pay for each semester.”
Lee concluded the meeting by listing that VSU students have strong motivations in school. They want to learn, but there are financial problems that stand in the way.
“A lot of you talked about college tuition and it’s expensive not only in money and debt, but expensive on your time, expensive on your energy, on your health,” Lee said. “I know a lot of you feel like you’re doing it on your own and you need more support.”
Lee then said that the top priority of legislation is to get more financial aid for students. Only time will tell.
Written by Kayla Pool, Staff Writer. Photo courtesy of The Spectator.