State needs to help with college funding

Resentment and anger building on campuses

YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME and a few students at a table in the basement of the Northern Essex Community College Library while we discuss various issues that face our classmates. We are the Student Senate, and every week we sit around the same table to ponder strategy. Recently we reviewed the 2018 budget situation and, looking around the table, I saw disappointment. Low state funding for education forces colleges to increase the cost of attendance. My fellow classmates already are struggling under the weight of maintaining good grades, supporting their families, and working part-time and full-time jobs. Any increase in tuition and fees only increases the financial weight on Northern Essex Community College students.

These statewide cuts immensely affect the culture of Northern Essex Community College by building resentment and anger across campus. The House’s budget and decreased funding will not help the school bring back its beloved programs. The budget cuts will also make it tougher for community colleges to connect with students. There are so many great opportunities that can be pursued on campus, but everyone is busy getting home to a family, or getting to work right after class. Why? Because education today, no matter where you go, is expensive.

Meet the Author

Grant Bellino

College student, Northern Essex Community College/UMass Amherst
The culture of colleges and universities is becoming less about obtaining an education, and more about getting through college as quickly as possible to find work. As soon as caps are tossed up in the air, students are pressed to work just to pay off their debt. Student loans limit flexibility to choose a position that may pay less but builds a desired resume. Most students now base their career choices solely on monetary compensation. Stifling students with debt after graduation can hinder the future workforce.

Student loans follow students everywhere, causing panic and stress. This fear is what led me to obtain my associates degree at a community college, a decision I am very proud of. Northern Essex Community College is an amazing path for students looking to continue their education, but if the state doesn’t assist with school funding than a cost-efficient education will be out of reach for many students and student leaders on campus.

Grant Bellino recently graduated with his associates degree in philosophy at Northern Essex Community College. He was the vice president of the Student Senate, president of Amnesty International, and a member of the men’s basketball team. He will continue his education at UMass Amherst.