Private School Emptied Their Bank Accounts

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Published on October 22, 2014

In the past, I would play the scenario in my head in response to being asked what school I attended. I would say “I went to Yale and majored in Computer Science,” then my listener’s eyes would widen and their voice would get higher as they replied, “WOW! You must be really smart.”

However, my thought was flawed because the only reason I wanted to attend a private school was for the ivy league name, yet I didn’t have the ivy league money.

However, Kamaya Bramble, a Human Services graduate had it all figured out. She said, “I knew the day that a representative from Central Connecticut State University came to my high school that I would apply. Besides, they are cheap.” She even quivered at the thought of attending a private school. “It’s too snobby for my taste,” she added.

According to the Connecticut Board of Regents, the average cost of residents attending a community college as a full-time student is $3,800 per year. Transferring to a university as an in-state commuter will have an annual average of $8,800 for full-time students.

On the contrary, the College Board said that attending a private college as a full-time student averages as much as $30,000 per year. That being said, Yale would have costed me over $63,000 a year for room and board. Even if I wanted to live with a family member, tuition would cost me $46,000 a year. Still, that was insanely high.

“But private schools give you more scholarships,” counters Jessica Myles, a general studies major at HCC. She referred to the ideology that because the majority of the money comes from private donations and from the students who can afford the high tuition cost, then more funding for scholarships are available.

Except she failed to realize that scholarships are not always guaranteed. After all, I wasn’t offered one even with my high GPA. Unless Yale offered me a full-ride, financial aid doesn’t cover the cost per semester. Plus, I would like to avoid ruining my credit due to student loans.

That was also the case for Tammy Johnson, a student at the American International College. She didn’t receive any scholarships and she refused to take out more student loans. She complained, “It costed me $17,000 a semester to try and get my teaching degree,” which is why she dropped out.

For myself, I believe that I would receive the same quality education from state college as I would at a private college. I came to that conclusion during my visit with the advisor from Central Connecticut State University; and the course requirements to complete my degree was similar to those of my friends who went to private institutions.

That is also what a community college graduate Sherley Volcimus did when she applied to public university Lehman College. “I applied because my credits were transferable to that school and for the education I would receive as a Social Science major,” she said.

Familiarity, such as diversity, is another reason why some students like myself go for a state institution.

HCC has a wide range of students with 31% of African Americans, 35% Caucasians and 28% Hispanics, but the races kept going. I loved that about this college. Coming from a family of mixed races, I embraced diversity and the uniqueness of different cultures.

Granted that the reasons for selecting a college are based upon its low tuition cost, the quality of education provided, and diversity among students, surely a state institution is the better fit.

Also, in the state of Connecticut, veterans are allowed to complete a masters and doctoral degree at any state college tuition-free; well, after the expiration of the 36 month GI Bill- which allows veterans and active duty members to complete their associates or bachelors degree for free or at a discounted rate.

Keep in mind that going to a state university or private university does not guarantee a dream job right out of college. I have watched my friend, Keshia Desir, struggle to get a job after she received her bachelor’s degree. The only place that hired her was a clothing store, which wasn’t enough to pay back student loans. Therefore, taking on an internship plus networking and building connections is a wise choice in increasing the chances of employment.

Today, I have no regrets attending a community college. I am in my last semester at HCC and will have graduated almost tuition free. I also look forward to transferring to a state university to further my education with a guarantee that I will graduate with less debt or no debt at all than those attending a private university.