Latino students who aspire to go to university fear getting into debt and ask for more financial support | The USA Print

Latino students who aspire to go to university fear getting into debt and ask for more financial support | The USA Print

Jose Fernandez He already has the suit ready that in a few weeks he will wear at the party of secondary graduation, which his parents are organizing for him, in his humble home in Corona, Queens. But in the midst of the emotion that he is about to receive what will be the first diploma of secondary that will be hanging in the living room of the apartment, the young Mexican confesses that a concern assails him: the university… how to pay for college.

At barely 17 years old, the immigrant, who arrived in New York in 2017, reveals that his greatest desire is to become a lawyer, to defend his community and Give your parents a better life and his two younger brothers, but at the same time, he admits that he does not have the resources to take that step, and that in the attempts he made to receive financial aid from credit corporations or educational institutions, the refusals were at the order of the day.

“As a child, the weight of not having papers is not felt very much, but when we get older and we reach this moment in which we have to start walking on our own, the issue of being an immigrant feels strong, and even more being poor and perhaps having to give up dreams of studying“says the New Yorker, one of the thousands of students who will graduate from high school in the city this year. In 2022, a total of 59,374 youngsters finished high school in the five boroughs.

We need financial help. And help is not that they lend us to get into debt for the rest of our lives, no. Help is that they expand study programs, scholarships or create plans to return what they invest in us with what we learn, being useful in our communities”, adds the native of Guerrero, in Mexico. “I don’t want to pay a debt for the rest of my lifewhile earning low wages as a professional.”

Lucas Paez, 19 years old, who graduated two years ago, and who attends a “community college” where he is “brushing up his English”, also expresses the same concerns. He wants to be a psychologist, but with his parents’ full-time jobs that earn minimum wage and only a few years living in the country, he feels there isn’t enough help for high school graduates like him.

Sometimes I don’t understand how this City doesn’t invest in youth. They talk about the fight for equality and equity, and what about us? going to university is very expensive in this city, and It scares me to think of taking out a loan and having a debt of half a million dollars at 23 years old“says the Colombian, who wants to study at Columbia, and asks the local government to create more scholarships and subsidies to finance higher education at low income students.

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Natasha Capers, Director of the Coalition for Educational Justicewarns that when leaving high school, one of the biggest challenges faced by many students, especially minorities, is to enter the university, since they do not have the necessary support or resources.

“Many public school students New Yorkers face some difficult challenges after graduating from high school and going to college, especially if they haven’t received the support they need to do well,” warned the activist, who noted that another problem youngsters face is lack of support in their schools in mentoring and counseling to help them reach higher education. “Most ofour high schools they do not have counselors or college advisers. The process of going to college, doing well, and graduating is difficult enough, but adding additional layers of lack of support and assistance will require financial aid and all too often creates a huge barrier for students. color”.

And given the headache that the debts they contract to pay their tuition have meant for many New Yorkers who arrive at the university, precisely a few days ago the federal Department of Education announced the forgiveness of their payment obligations for nearly 49,000 student loan borrowers in New York.

The forgiveness of your debts, which equal to more than $3.1 billion dollars, were for professionals who work in public service work. Nationwide, it benefits 616,000 people, such as teachers, firefighters, and members of the public order forces, among others.

“While hundreds of thousands of New York borrowers have already benefited, more will benefit as the program continues,” the federal agency added. “Since day one, the Biden-Harris Administration has worked tirelessly to fix a broken student loan system, including making sure to honor the promise of public service loan forgiveness for those who have spent a decade or more serving our families. communities and our country,” said the Secretary of Education of the United States, Miguel Cardona.

“To date, the Biden-Harris team has delivered on that promise for more than 615,000 teachers, nurses, social workers, service members and other public servants by approving a combined $42 billion in student loan debt forgiveness… this reminds us why we must continue to do everything we can to fight for borrowers and why families cannot afford to have partisan politicians derail their progress.”

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And in order to allow more New York students who finish high school to access higher education, the national education department assured that “they work continuously to make the application form Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) more accessible to students and parents applying for grants, loans, and work-study funds for education after high school.”

They also stated that this year they have been “redesigning, simplifying and optimizing” the FAFSA form 2024-25″an action that they described as the most ambitious and significant in the application and delivery of federal student aid in decades.

“The changes will provide a more streamlined application process, expanded eligibility for federal financial aid, reduced barriers for certain student populations, and an improved user experience for the FAFSA form,” they added, explaining that for undocumented parents, the FAFSA form 2024-25 will be easier to complete because they can get a username and password (known as an FSA ID) without a Social Security number, to electronically complete their portion of their child’s FAFSA form.

The Department of Municipal Education (DOE) ensures that public schools in the Big Apple offer year-round training for school personnel who support students with post-secondary planning, specifically financial planning for college. While adding that they ensure that the FAFSA guides are translated into all DOE priority languages.

Latino students who aspire to go to university fear getting into debt and ask for more financial support | The USA Print
Nearly 60,000 students graduate each year from NYC public schools

“Providing students with multiple pathways to reach their goals is the cornerstone of any effective school system. In the New York City Public Schools, we work with staff and students throughout the year to connect them with resources that will help inform their post-secondary plans.” assured Chyann Tullspokesperson for the Department of Public Schools.

Another of the existing options that New York graduate students have to make their dream come true, are the programs of the City University of New York (CUNY)where the Latinos represent 29% of the total student population.

“The University has the top 5 universities in the state of New York, where Latinos obtain degrees or certificates. CUNY also ranks in the Top 5 in the state in terms of Hispanic enrollment,” a CUNY spokesperson said, adding that 7 CUNY schools have at least 45% of their student population Hispanic.

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And in terms of financial aid, CUNY warns that thanks to the federal and state aid they receive, (TAP, and the Excelsior Scholarship), 68% of undergraduate students in the state attend tuition free and 75% graduate debt free. They also warned that there is financial aid for undocumented students.

“CUNY’s affordability is unrivaled in New York and we are proud to offer tens of thousands of students each year the opportunity to earn a degree without debt. Before any financial aid, the annual tuition for our community colleges is $4,800 and for colleges it is $6,930,” the institution warns.

And to reach out to recent graduates and prevent the lack of financial resources from being an obstacle to advancing towards their higher education, from another front, the City Council is promoting within its budget for the next fiscal year the approval of $388.1 million to adequately finance educational priorities.

They also include $4.8 million for the Inclusive Economy program, which aims to increase the percentage of CUNY students connecting to career paths, “providing city businesses with an educated and talented workforce, $2 million for Gateway Course Success Initiative (formerly CUNY Remediation), which has phased out outdated traditional English and math remedial courses that thousands of students in associate programs had taken for decades, replacing them with more equitable “corequisite” courses, and $1 million to the Institute CUNY STEM which offers courses in physical sciences, mathematics, English, engineering, programming, entrepreneurship and other enriching fields.

Data to take into account

  • 59,374 students graduated from high school in NYC in 2022
  • 49,000 New York student debtors received loan forgiveness
  • $3.100 million dollars is the value that the federal government is forgiving in debts in NY
  • The federal FAFSA form, help resources, and other information can be found on the website
  • Undocumented students, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students, are not eligible for federal student aid. However, they may be eligible for state or college financial aid, in addition to private scholarships. Look this link
  • Parents’ citizenship status does not affect a student’s eligibility for federal student aid
  • You can find information on how to apply to universities and CUNY programs here
  • 29% of CUNY students are Latino
  • 68% of undergraduate students in the State attend without paying tuition
  • 75% graduate debt free

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