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Friday, March 1, 2024
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Op/Ed: Financial aid-reliant students should vote for Tyler Bowders

As a student who relies on financial aid in order to afford an education at American University, it pains me to see that financial aid reform isn’t much of a priority to most of the SG Presidential candidates.

This past January, problems with my financial aid caused me to have to take a leave of absence from AU for this spring semester. My financial aid issues with the University and with AU Central forced me to put my education, that I’ve worked tirelessly for, on hold. It forced me to reevaluate which additional majors and minors I could realistically accomplish in order to graduate by May 2017. And it forced me to leave the place that we all call our home away from home.

That’s not something I would wish upon anybody.

AU, while being a fine institution, lacks in the area of financial aid. More needs to be done to ensure that students have the means to afford the high price tag of this school. While I commend the University on increasing its allocation of need-based financial aid over the years, it is not enough. Next year, when the Board of Trustees sits down to discuss the tuition increase, matters will only get worse in the realm of college affordability here at AU.

Luckily for me, and for the current and future students of AU, Tyler Bowders, in his role as our chief advocate and liaison between the Board of Trustees and the students, will advocate for more need-based financial aid along with a tuition increase that has as little impact on students as possible.

Tyler also plans to sit down with department heads to discuss academic internships. Another thing I’ve had to reevaluate is how many, if any, unpaid internships I could realistically complete between when I return in the fall and when I graduate. It’s hard enough to have to put off a semester of school when you are attempting a double major, but for any student to have to pay to have an unpaid internship is just not right. AU prides itself on being the best in undergraduate internships completed, but I feel like it can be even better if students who rely more heavily on financial aid could have the opportunity to do unpaid internships without worrying about their finances.

Every student who is admitted and accepts a place at this University should have the resources available to them to afford such a fine education. Financial aid should not be the factor that determines whether you receive an American University education or not. If you’ve worked hard to get here, I believe you should be provided with the resources to stay here and to thrive here.

I’m proud to say that I support Tyler Bowders for SG President, because he is a candidate who, after hearing stories such as mine, takes students’ issues and concerns into serious consideration and plans a way forward. Tyler Bowders is a true voice of progress and the best candidate for AUSG President. I believe in AU, and Tyler too.

Monica Patel is a freshman in the School of Public Affairs.

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