Picture this — Students taking a fourth job to pay tuition and rent. Students blindly applying for grants and scholarships because they’re the first person in their family to go to college. Students wondering how they’ll pay back the thousands of dollars they’ve borrowed.
This is a reality for junior Kay Harvey and sophomores Miranda Fotis and Samantha Radke.
Harvey knew her family couldn’t help her pay for college, so she applied for all the financial aid she could. Harvey said she covers the difference by working a nightly Walmart shift.
“You can’t work enough to pay for an adequate living while going to school,” Harvey said. “You can’t.”
Like Harvey, sophomore Miranda Fotis knows the struggles of having to work to pay for school.
Fotis worked constantly in high school to save up enough money to pay for college. She currently works three jobs and might pick up a fourth to cover all her expenses.
Fotis often worries about the $21,000 or so she will have in debt after finishing at Truman State University, especially because she wants to go to law school.
“I don’t understand why America doesn’t understand you need to invest in brain profit,” Fotis said. “There are people who could cure cancer, and you don’t get these people because they can’t afford to go and do the things they need to do to go to college.”
Sophomore Samantha Radke said her family fell below the poverty line after her parents left their jobs to pursue freelance work. Radke receives the maximum FAFSA payment possible, but she still has to go home and work full time every break to pay for expenses like food and rent.
Despite their financial challenges, Harvey, Fotis and Radke all intend to stay at Truman and power through the years to come.
“It’s crazy because I can’t quit now because I’m so close to a degree, and I’m so close to being able to be like, ‘Ha, gotcha world,’” Harvey said.
For more information about Harvey, Fotis, Radke and the financial struggles of students like them, pick up a copy of The Index Thursday, Jan. 25.