This I Believe

Jennifer - Benson, Arizona
Entered on February 5, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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This I Believe Essay

By government standards I am forced to go to school for 13 years of my life (K-12) unless I graduate early. That education was free and paid for by the government, but because I want to further my education I have to find a way to finance it whether it is out of my own pocket, or trying to find someone to help me either through loans, grants, or scholarships.

Employers and the government are complaining that there is a shortage of doctors, nurses, and teachers. To be able to work in these fields I must have some kind of education. These are not “train on the job” careers like say fast food or retail.

A lot of people, like myself, do not qualify for grants or scholarships because of the amount of money that they make. Yet they are scraping up nickels and dimes just to eat let alone pay for a college education. Who actually decides what I can or cannot afford based on my income when they do not know what my monthly bills are?

A student is considered a dependant of their parents until the age of 24, unless they have children of their own. So because I am 22 years old, I have no children that I can legally claim, and I have my own house and bills in my name, I still have to report my parents income. I do not get any of their money, but their income will still be taken into consideration when looking at my cost of living.

Who is the one that determines what my cost of living should be? I have rent, electric, gas, water, sewer, trash, my cell phone because I do not have a house phone, gas for my car, government mandated car insurance, and food. I also have credit cards that are maxed out I am paying for. So, how much am I allowed to spend on all of that? I believe that the forms that are required to be filed for eligibility should be revised. It should give you the opportunity to explain how much of your money is spent on monthly bills. Then maybe people would look at me a little different and instead of saying, “she can afford that”, they would look and say, “how does she do it?” If I can provide documentation that I am supporting myself I believe I should be considered as independent. I have been able to claim myself on my taxes for 8 years, but I am not allowed to claim myself on a form to get college funding.