Students and the Economy

by Samantha Lujan

The majority of students wonder how President Barack Obama’s 789 billion stimulus plan that was recently approved this past February would in any way help them.
“It will definitely help students…it will be increasing Pell Grant award eligibility” said Katie Briscoe Baum the director of financial aid here at Suffolk County Community College.
The atrocious economic times that the country is encountering have put forward many questions, but an inquiry that has crossed everyone’s mind is how exactly is this going to help students pay for tuition?
In a recent article published by CNN Politics, it stated that the stimulus package plans to call for greater investment in Pell Grants for college students, and $2,500 college tax credit to four million college students”.
“I’ve had to give school a break. I can’t transfer anywhere else until I start paying some of these loans… I can’t afford going to school full time and work full time” said Sebastian Correa, 22 a student here at the college whom has been affected by the economic hardships.
In these tough economic times students are forced to go out and find jobs that can help them make it through school.
“We have noticed an increase in student traffic since the semester started. Many students are coming in – asking for assistance in finding a job.” said Sylvia E. Camacho Director of the Career Services and Cooperative Education.
“For students who are looking for jobs off campus, there is Suffolk’s Job Connection – http: This is an online job listing database with over 600 open jobs. Flyers and posters are posted all around campus, as well as a link on the College Web site. We also have some information in-house on our Jobs Board in the Babylon Student Center, 2nd floor and in our office – Job Notebook binders. In addition, there are several employers who visit on campus to recruit during the semester.” Said Sylvia Camacho expressing how the college is helping students.

Financial aid has also become a significant important part of a student’s affordability in regards to school. In order to qualify for financial aid or any other loan, there are several applications that a student has fill out each according to their needs. There are three types of federal student aid, there are four types of federal student aid grants and there are several loans that you can obtain.
“Better job steering students away from private loans” said Katie Briscoe Baum in regards to how the financial aid center is preventing students from obtaining high interest loans.
There is a process that needs to be followed, a FAFSA form must be completed, whether done online or mailed in. The FAFSA application is one of the requirements that is needed in order to determine how much assistance the student needs. This application takes an estimated hour to complete, for some students this is a long and excruciating hour due to the number of questions that the application contains. What students need to know is that there is a difference in all three applications. The requirements are different which is why they need to seek help from the financial aid office.
Some have said that “the department of education is trying to simplify the application and replacing it with a FAFSA EZ” which would facilitate not only the time that it takes to fill out the application but also it would increase the number of people who fill it out.
Financial aid is not the only source that students are going to for help, the enrollment here at the Ammerman campus has increased by a 6.4% which is much higher than 2 years ago. This means that many college students are opting to stay at home and attend local community colleges in order to save money, but yet continue with their education.
Companies are disappearing, many are filing for chapter 11, unemployment is increasing and students are struggling to pay for school. The Ammerman campus is pursuing to try ameliorating the situation. On April 15, 2009, A Career/Job Fair will be hosted from 10 am to 1 pm in the Babylon Student Center. Students who are looking for a job can stop by and talk to the many employers attending, all of which are looking to hire.

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