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Students Struggle Financially

Updated: Dec 28, 2018

by Mikael Honzell

It isn't a secret that a good majority of college students struggle financially through their college years, having to pull out loans and hope they qualify for resources such as bog waivers, financial aid and more.

With a program like SEED getting ready to take off, I wanted to see if college students feel like something like SEED would benefit them.

To do this, I interviewed Delamonica Castaneda of the student services department. she sees students all of the time that often tell her of their situation related to school and having the money to get through it. She also helps prepare Delta students for four years universities.

Domenica feels that the SEED program could be very beneficial for a lot of families struggling financially. Here is what she had to say.

Domenica: I think that is amazing because growing up, my mom was a single parent and so for me, growing up with five other siblings, we struggled, a lot, so these types of programs are resources. It makes me excited because those are some of the things that my mom relied on, so we were able to get through just life. So when these types of services are offered to people, it just reminds me of where I came from and how we struggled and how some people are able to get help, so I love this.

Next, I wanted to get more of a sense of the type of situations she sees students in when it comes to money, and the struggle they go through to have a good, steady income.Which, by the way, could affect the chances of them being accepted to four years colleges.

Me: My second question is do you come across a lot of students that are struggling financially? If so, can you think of an example?

Domenica: I work in the career transfer center and right now a lot of students are getting ready to transfer to the four year university, and I met a student today and she was unsure about the application so I helped her with that. And she chose four colleges that she wanted to attend, but she thought she was going to get a fee waiver. So based on your income, if you’re low income, you have a fee waiver up to four schools so she chose four schools thinking she was going to get it. She gets to the end of it and she doesn’t qualify. And I looked at her and I said ‘Okay, what schools do you really want to go to?’ And one of them happened to be Stanislaus and if you go to Stanislaus through Delta College and if you’re going through their majors like psychology, communications studies, history, there’s two more. If you’re going to their school, they’ll waive their application. I said ‘I want you to meet with a Stanislaus rep, let her know that you’re interested in going to the Stockton center for psychology and then she’ll waive the application fee.’ That’s just one of the examples, but I do come across a lot of students who struggle and money is always just a factor for them.”

Me: So maybe an extra $500 could go a long way for them. It could even make rent, make a lot of differences.

Domenica: Absolutely; rent, gas, food, those are things that we struggled with where my mom was a single parent, and we were on welfare, and programs like HEEP, they would help out with paying the PG&E, that would help just amazing programs that were out there at that time. And I think they’re still around, such as the SEED project.

If an extra guaranteed monthly income of $500 already existed, it could go a long way to helping students in Chico and near it where the recent fire took place, where many school closed down due to bad air quality, and some due to the fact they were near the fire. This has led to many students having to miss work days and not get paid because of the vacations, leaving them without the paycheck they rely on so heavily.

Me: My third question is do you feel something like SEED would benefit college students?

Domenica: Yes, for sure. For those student who are struggling and, I just come across a lot of students, even if they’re federal student workers, they get some type of income, versus somebody that doesn’t have a job at all but one of the students was like ‘Oh my gosh, I missed an hour or we were off when they had the fires up north and I don't know how I'm going to pay my rent.’ It’s just heartbreaking.

I wanted to see if $500 a month for 18 months would benefits Domenica.

Me: How would $500 a month benefit you?

Domenica: Oh my god, $500 a month, how would it benefit me? I would say food. Maybe food, just because I have three boys, three growing boys and I feel like they have a hole in their stomach. I spend a lot of money on food and the clothes, cause they grow out of them. But just gas, just the basics. So, yeah.

Lastly, I wanted to see if Delamonica had any concerns with the project, such as the fact that the payment the families will be receiving cash at hand, and how they use that money won’t be monitored. This is a common con many people I’ve interviewed brought up, and i wanted to get Delmonicas take on the matter.

Me: My last question is do you have any concerns with the project? For example, there are families that will be receiving the payment cash at hand, it’s not going to be monitored on how they spend it or anything. So they could spend it on things that they don’t really need, but will (put it to good use). Are you concerned with that at all?

Domenica: Part of me is, only because I’m the super responsible person, so I would hope that they would use the $500 towards what they really need help with; rent, maybe even buying a car, gas, utilities, food, those kind of things, but on the other hand, it’s kind of like the other part of me thinks they’re not used to this money. This is $500, to them it’s like thousands of dollars. It’s a game changer and so I would want them to enjoy it, because, we don’t really know what’s going to happen tomorrow, and so if you live in the moment and they have that $500 and they did whatever they wanted to and had fun and enjoyed it, then I’m happy for that. So I’m kind of back and forth.

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