I am a first-year student at the University of Akron. I work part-time and had to take two years off from school to work to afford college. Like many students, my only option coming out of high school was to join the workforce. I worked nights at Acme Fresh Market for two years after high school, just so I could save enough to pay for college.
I have two older sisters who received scholarships to Ohio University. Unlike my sisters, I didn’t have the grades to receive a scholarship. I received a small grant of $3,000 from financial aid, which was not nearly enough. It cost me $11,000 this first semester to stay on campus. To continue next semester, I may have to return to working nights. This is a problem many other students I work with are also going through.
When I started college, I switched from working nights to working days. I work five days a week, which is hard for many students to do — go to school full time and work 30 hours a week. Most days I go to class in the morning, then right to work and don’t get back to campus until at least 10 p.m. It’s difficult to schedule time for homework, going to the gym or eating. There is little time to relax. Every day of the week, students like me are either working or going to class.
If college were less expensive, students wouldn’t have to sacrifice all of their earnings just to pay for school.