Attending college can be a stressful time for anyone, but the stress doesn’t stop at academics for students who are financially independent.
“Not only do I go to school full time, but I work two part time jobs just to pay my rent,” says Lorain County Community College Student, Kathryn Carver. “I’ve had times that I had to choose between getting a big assignment done or going into work.”
Many independent students at LCCC like Carver have found these struggles implemented into their daily lives. The Covid-19 pandemic back at its start in 2020, triggered an economic breakdown in the United States, causing many to lose their jobs, friends, houses and more.
Soon independent students were left struggling to pick up the pieces of paying for college, rent and food while also risking their lives going to their “essential” jobs in grocery work or fast food.
According to Carver who works at a fast food restaurant and a diner, she stresses about her academics and financial situation daily.
“I used to be a straight A student, but now I have to pay almost eight hundred dollars a month in rent; my job has become more important to me than my academics,” she says. “I have to make sure I have enough money to feed myself, keep the heat on and somehow still find time to get homework done for my five classes.”
Carver is not the only one struggling to pay rent as it has skyrocketed in the past year.
According to Rent.com, rent has increased nearly nine percent nationwide in the past year alone, forcing many to have to downsize or move back home if possible.
“I actually had to drop out of school,” says former student Margo Solace. “I was working 25 hours a week, so I could focus on school and still wasn’t making enough money to pay my rent.”
Solace went on to add that it wasn’t just the rent that caused her financial stress.
“I was deciding whether I should put gas in my car to get to and from work and school, or buy groceries. I never realized how much food cost till I was on my own.”
The inflation of food cost has increased 11.2% since September of 2021 according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, causing independent students to have to decide whether to eat or pay their rent.
“I just wish I was able to stay in school,” says Solace. “I plan on going back at some point, but it just pushed my life plans way off track.”
Fortunately for those that are struggling, LCCC has an answer. Resources like Commodore Cupboard or the Advocacy Resource Center exist on main campus to help students in need.
“We had a lot more students coming in during the past two years more than ever before, so we knew we needed to expand our resources,” says Cathy Shaw from the ARC. “A lot of times, these students don’t know where to start, and that’s why we’re here.”
For more information regarding the ARC and commodore Cupboard, visit https:// www.lorainccc.edu/support-services or stop by the ARC in the Bass Library.