2013 BMCC ASAP Leadership Team Member
How many of you knew that you would be attending college? Even if the decision wasn’t completely up to your discretion, it wasn’t much of an option. Was it? Welcome to my world.
I graduated from high school in 2008 with plans of going away to further my education at an out-of-state University. I was accepted to Delaware State University and that was the school I’d decided to attend. As far as paperwork, my mom did everything else. Being considered an out-of state student, I barely received any financial aid and the tuition for my first year was $32,000. Aside from a partial loan, my parents covered the rest of the cost of my tuition. The tuition would increase every semester by an additional $2,000 which became difficult for my parents to pay (along with their responsibilities at home). After three semesters at DSU, financial troubles brought me back to the city. There I was, in debt and without a degree, and, as a matter of fact, with no credits!
I applied to Hostos Community College, was accepted and enrolled in the spring semester of 2010. As a New York resident, I was approved for Financial Aid (composed of a Pell grant and TAP), which covered the total cost of my tuition. Things were different going to school this time around. I was used to my mother doing everything for me when I went away to school, but now I had to take care of my own responsibilities. My first semester at Hostos Community College was the most challenging semester ever. I was alone in a new environment, left to figure out everything for myself. Based on my major, I was assigned to an academic advisor who informed me of the courses that I needed to take for my first semester. It was my worst experience ever. I was taking a remedial course in Math, which I later found out I didn’t need, based on my entrance exam scores, which made me exempt. Already I felt like I had been mislead and it was only my first semester.
It wasn’t until my sister was admitted into the ASAP program at Bronx Community College that I learned about the program and its benefits. I went into the ASAP office at Hostos, where I met Berkis Cruz, a Career Employment Specialist, who saw to it that I join the program. Sure enough, after filling out paperwork, submitting requested documents, and attending several orientations, I became an ASAP student in the fall of 2011. Being eligible for financial aid, one of the requirements needed in order to be considered as a candidate of ASAP, gave me an advantage. After being admitted into the program I realized the benefits would impact my success tremendously.
My advisor was there for me whether the issue concerned school or not. The career advisement specialist helped me with my professionalism, helping me to make my resume more marketable and preparing me for prospective interviews with mock ones. The ASAP staff were easily accessible to me and became people who I trust and confide in. The free use of textbooks and free tuition allowed me to keep up with homework assignments as well as follow up on lectures the professors discussed, and keep some money from my financial aid.
As a result of being in ASAP I was able to take intersession classes in the winter and summer for free. Life out of ASAP seems impossible and the thought is scary, if I reflect back to my first semester. The greatest benefit of them all is the tuition fee-waiver. The cost of tuition is what altered my education in the first place at Delaware State University. Here at Hostos my tuition, with a maximum of 15 credits a semester, not including inter-session classes, was never more than $3,000. That’s a lot less compared to the tuition fee at DSU. Moreover, being part of the ASAP Program, I did not have to worry about tuition as long as I was eligible for at least $1 of financial aid. I get goose bumps wondering how I could have done all of this on my own.