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Undergraduate Stipend



Testimony From Zacqueline Baldwin ,Low-Income and First Generation Student Class of 2023 :

Proposal: $1000 stipend per semester for low and middle-income students, at least for students who come from families that make less than 80k.

“The number one reason for dropouts is financial burden and hardship.”
When I was a freshman in 2017 I went to the seminar “How to be Successful in College”.
I vividly remember this part of the discussion. A speaker said “We understand some of you may have to work and give money to your families, we still recommend you work 0-4 hours a week.” The University of Rochester has many programs in place to help students, for example, the Food Pantry and Basic Needs Hub. I assume many other universities have programs like that in place as well. The University is very generous for its efforts and how it acknowledges the financial struggles of students. However, I also know that the University of Rochester has an endowment of 2 billion dollars, and a portion of that endowment is said to be for student support and financial aid. With the knowledge that I have, I don’t know if the university can afford this, however if it can I believe that this is something the university should do. I believe even if the university can not afford $1000 for every student, hopefully there is an amount that you can. This would set an example for universities all over the United States for how far they are willing to help students who come from the least supportive systems in efforts to graduate and make their lives better.
I circulated in many groups where we talk about the effect of financial hardship on our school performance and our mental health; even simply the juxtaposition of walking by students who are able to afford their own cars or have support systems that afford it for them, the devices they bring to class, and the brands some students wear. We can not be them, but does that mean we have to struggle? If we weren’t struggling, it would affect us much less.

In my recent experience studying abroad put me about $5000 in debt, $2000 of which almost kept me from continuing my enrollment this fall. Furthermore, there is currently a student who is trying to raise money to stay in school. I saw his GoFundMe title “Help Me Stay in College” on a bulletin board and posted it on my social media in an effort to help him.
I don’t personally know if he was able to continue his education this fall.
Apparently, financial hardship is still a reason some people discontinue their education at this university. As I stated prior, the number one reason for dropouts is financial hardship.

In my experience, institutional aid has not been allowed to exceed the cost of attendance. The cost of meals and classes are not the only expenses of college. A stipend that goes directly to the pocket of the student rather than being dependent on a University refund after the cost of attendance is what I am proposing. I would like to bring attention to the Handler Scholarship. This scholarship makes a clear distinction that money will be given to the student for whatever they personally need for school, including textbooks which are not included in the aid already given as cost of attendance. “A more-than-full-tuition, four-year scholarship to the University of Rochester. $5,000 in guaranteed funding to support academic or professional enrichment.” It is contradictory that at some level the university understands the financial hardship of low and middle-income students, so much so they allow aid to a few each year that encompasses this understanding. I ask, if the university can afford it, why can’t a similar program exist in general for all middle and low-income students, specifically those with families making under 80k a year?”


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This is a great idea!!

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