The Students Have Spoken

By: Nicole E. Torres and Yasmin Kicinski

“The administration at this university is taking advantage of students, it’s not fair that we try to study and get ahead with a scholarship, and they make it so hard for us to keep it”, said Osmary Medina, a sophomore from the department of Biology at the University of Puerto Rico, who was affected by the recent decrease in Pell Grant.

Sophomore student Osmary Medina (2nd from left) wants to graduate, but without the Grant she can’t do it.

Sophomore student Osmary Medina (2nd from left) wants to graduate, but without the Grant she can’t do it.

Due to the recent lowering of the Pell Grant many students denies the opportunity to get a wealthy future in the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus. UPR   President Miguel Muñoz said “I trust that the students can fill the void, due to the new limitations in the Pell Grant”.

Though many students at the university know about the limitations in the Pell Grant and have gotten used to them, others like Christian Torres, a junior student from the Department of Nursing, has not gotten used to the idea. He is disappointed with the administration of the university: “I have to work about 15 hours a week, while taking classes so that I can actually pay for my future, while the administration is using the money for their own benefits.”

One of the limitations that the lowering in the Pell Grant has is the fact that instead of 18 semesters to graduate, now students only have 12 semesters to finish their degrees. These changes also include the requirements for requesting assistance such as household income. Whereas before the household income cap was $32,000, now the students with household incomes higher than $23,000 do not fill the requirements for the grant. Moreover the advantage of repeating classes has also been cut and the students will only get the opportunity to drop a class 5 or 7 time, depending on their bachelor’s degree of choice.

On the other hand, the lowering in the Pell Grant is due to the economic crisis that the university is going through. The administration has foreseen that for the next few years  more things are coming, but the students have not been notified yet about the changes in the institution.

One of the future changes that will be affecting the university is the increment in the IGS, which is the number that allows you to enter through the department of your choice, with your GPS and your college board.  Another example of the changes in the university is the interest rate of the students loans because it will be duplicated from 3.4 percent to a 6.8 percent.

Consequently, throughout the years these changes will reflect in the numbers of people admitted to the university. According to what the administration has published about ¼ of the student body will be lowered.

Inevitably many students on campus have made their opinions very clear: they agree that it is not fair for the administration to do this to people who are trying to get an education and to get a future. In a lot interviews many students complained about the situation and seemed to have no idea how the administration could fix the situation. “It’s completely unfair, I think that college should be a place where the administration facilitates the learning of the students, and not for the greed of the employees”, said Christian Vélez, a sophomore student from the Department of Business Adminitration.

Sophomore student José Julian Del Toro (2nd from left) thinks its wrong to reduce the Pell Grant, because there are people who need the scholarship to keep studying.

Sophomore student José Julian Del Toro (2nd from left) thinks its wrong to reduce the Pell Grant, because there are people who need the scholarship to keep studying.

In light of the situation, other students who were not affected by the lowering in the Pell Grant, expressed that the lowering in the Pell Grant is completely unfair to those affected, “It’s unfair because the students affected need economic help and because they need to find jobs and other economic help, there performance may be affected,” said Joselyn Resto, a sophomore student from the Department of Biotechnology.

According to the reduction of the Pell Grant has affected a third of the beneficiaries because from 38,000 students who receive economic help, 13,000 are directly affected by it. Throughout the years the administration expects for the university to have drastic changes in the way the education is offered in the University of Puerto Rico and the         students are completely not in favor of these changes.

 

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