An Unnecessary Burden on First-Generation Students of Color
As the daughter of two Latino immigrants who were unable to attend college, attending Yale has been an achievement not only for me, but it has represents the culmination of my parents’ tremendous sacrifice and labor. When I was accepted to Yale, my financial aid package stated that my parents’ contribution would be zero. Because the language and details of how financial aid works are often opaque, they did not understand that I was still required to pay thousands of dollars each year as part the student income contribution. I knew they did not have the means to help me pay this, so every year I have taken out loans to pay the contribution. Furthermore, I currently work a campus job in order to pay for daily expenses that financial aid does not cover. The student income contribution is an unnecessary stipulation in students’ financial aid packages. While it places a burden on the individual student, it does virtually nothing to affect Yale. After witnessing years of their hard work, I decided that I would no longer be a financial burden to my parents. This, unfortunately, has also created an isolating experience as I think about the loans I will have to pay after I graduate and the jobs I must work as a student in order to save money. Furthermore, because my parents’ primary language is Spanish, the financial aid process is one I take upon myself as I fill out the FAFSA and CSS profile as well as try to make sense of the Yale’s financial system. Coming from a primarily working class Latino community, I want others to know Yale is a possibility and does not have to be a financial burden on their families. Nevertheless, the student income contribution places a completely unnecessary burden on students who already have to contend with other issues as we try to navigate being first-generation students of color on this campus.