The Free Press, Mankato, MN

March 18, 2013

Your View: Working students need financial aid options

Andrew Gould, Mankato

— I am a college student who can’t sleep. Not because I am up all night partying or playing video games, but because I spend so much time working to pay for my living expenses and my tuition.

Why? Because there really aren’t good financial aid options available to working, part-time students. And I’m not alone — 56.4 percent of students in Minnesota public, two-year colleges are going to school part time.

This is why we need to make the Minnesota State Grant more equitable for working, part-time students.

You might ask, why don’t you just go to school full-time and work on your education? But it just doesn’t add up budget-wise with my living expenses costing me on average $1,000 a month. If I didn’t have a full-time job, I couldn’t make my rent payment.

I spend nearly 80 hours a week working two jobs, one full-time and the other part-time. There are weeks that I work from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and then I go to my other job and work from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Then I study between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Then I’m off to repeat the day.

If there were financial aid options available to me, I would be able to cut down my work week and I would be able to sleep and study.

I truly believe that financial aid options need to be available for students who just don’t have enough time in the week to pay for college.