STORY & PHOTO BY MARCO URIAS
More than half of Cypress College students received some financial aid for the spring of 2022, according to data provided by CC director of financial aid services, Gabriella De La Cruz.
Mortuary science student Julio Garcia, also a CSU Fullerton graduate in psychology, delayed enrolling in school for two years to save up money, he said.
“I saved a lot of money. I worked a lot. I stopped going to school for like two years. I was making enough money to save enough as back up but I did receive financial aid at Cal State Fullerton through the DREAM Act,” said Garcia.
The DREAM Act, a way for undocumented students who arrived in the U.S. as minors to pay for the cost of higher education, was passed in 2001 because they do not qualify for regular federal financial aid.
Despite receiving financial help from the DREAM Act as a DACA recipient Garcia said he thought the two years he took to work, and to save up money were absolutely necessary.
“I did know that it was going to be like four thousand dollars per semester,” said Garcia.
The CSU and UC reported their tuitions to be approximately $7,484 and $11,442, respectively, not including other expenses like housing for the 2021-2022 school year.
“I couldn’t just work part time and go to school part time because I knew that I was going to struggle because I do live by myself,” said Garcia.
Research has shown that housing reached nearly half of student expenses. In data provided by the CA state assembly in ‘College Ready, Hungry, and Homeless/An Overview of Basic Needs In security In California’s Higher Education System,’ the average CCC student spent 43 percent on housing in 2018.
According to the report, “students suffering from basic needs insecurity face academic, financial and health challenges their food and housing secure counterparts may not face.”
Garcia said he was pre-diabetic and weighed 221 lbs. before adopting a vegan lifestyle 4 years ago, though being an animal lover, as he called himself, also played a part in his decision.
“I have three pets. Two cats and a bearded dragon. Trixie, Toby, and Smidge. I don’t have kids. They’re my babies. I’m vegan as well so I hope that they’ll be able to provide more because they’re giving out vegan food on Tuesdays and Wednesdays—so I’m hoping that they could give us more food,” said Garcia.
To help students the Charger Cafe has been offering students free breakfast and lunch since the fall of 2021. As previously reported, many students have benefited from this initiative. Students like history major Hector Lopez and marine biology major Keira Hernandez said it was their favorite thing about CC.
In addition to the free food program to help CC students save on costs, the school offered a bus pass that gave them semester long access to OCTA bus services. It was included as part of enrollment fees.
In addition, CC students were awarded scholarships like the Bernard Osher Memorial Scholarship, the Boeing Company STEM scholarship, and the Follett Book Store scholarship.
Alternatively, students who qualify for federal student aid could also take out loans.
However, the U.S. student debt is approximately $1.7 trillion and, at the end of a student’s higher education career, the average debt for students who attended a public university was $30,030, according to data and statistics gathered by Melanie Hanson on ‘educationdata. org.’
Julio Garcia said he plans to receive an embalmer certificate from CC.