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Coping With Cost of College
by Misha Ray - ASUN
Nov 13, 2011 | 1860 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When the state talks about increasing tuition or raising fees, Nevada’s students often are criticized for not “working hard enough” and are told we should “just get a job” to pay for the tuition increases pushed on us throughout the years.

I am one of the many students working two jobs during the school year as a full-time student, as well as being heavily involved in other areas of campus. I don’t rely on money from my family to help me pay for my expenses. I receive some scholarships, but primarily I pay for school and living expenses through my summer job and the jobs I work while in school.

I had the opportunity to interview four students from various backgrounds who are great examples of the hard-working students at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Aida Cloutier, 53, is a double major in journalism and English literature. Cloutier receives disability for a back injury, but she says it’s not enough to live on. She works about 10 hours a week at a paid job on campus and 13 hours a week at an unpaid internship for the Nevada Museum of Art. To maintain her 3.9 GPA, Aida studies 40 hours a week. She is part of five student organizations, as well as a guest writer for the student newspaper.

“I am on campus from 8 a.m. to midnight Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,” she said. “On Thursday, Friday and Sunday, I’m usually on campus for at least eight hours.”

Lane King, 20, is a criminal justice major from Pahrump, Nev. King is a devoted member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and relies on a variety of scholarships, grants and loans to pay for school. Currently studying Arabic, King wants to work for the government after graduating, working in anti-terrorism efforts.

“I just started working at the Knowledge Center on campus,” King said. “Had I not gotten this job, I wouldn’t have been able to finish this semester. For students, it’s scary to face dropping a class just to afford to live.”

Like King, Joselle Benitez, a 22-year-old psychology major from Las Vegas, relies on a variety of scholarships and grants to pay for school, but has managed to escape the need to take out loans.

“I pay out of pocket for what my scholarships and Pell Grant doesn’t cover,” Benitez said. “My parents help as much as they can, but they have three kids in college and it’s really hard.”

Benitez has two jobs, working on campus for the student government and working in UNR’s couples therapy lab as a research assistant. As drum major of the university’s marching band, a member of the Dance Co-op, a co-founder and vice president of the National Society of Leadership and Success (Sigma Alpha Pi) and member of the psychology honor society, Psy Chi, Benitez is heavily involved on campus.

The last student I interviewed was Harland Feest, 23-year-old double major in psychology and sociology. Feest works four jobs during the summer and is currently working 30 to 40 hours a week at one job on campus and another at Sushi Pier 2 while going to school full time.

“My biggest struggle by far in my time in college is finding ways to pay for school,” Feest said. “It brings way more stress than studying for finals or writing lengthy essays. It is the worst.” 

When it comes down to it, UNR students are proud of how hard they work to put themselves through school. We are proud to be students in this state. We hope our state is proud of the hard work we do as students — and the work we’ll do for the state after we graduate.

Misha Ray is a journalism student at the University of Nevada, Reno graduating in spring 2012. She is the director of public relations for the Associated Students of the University of Nevada.
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