Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The many struggles of out-of-state students

Students are outnumbered and over-stressed

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The many struggles of out-of-state students

(Will Katcher/Daily Collegian)

(Will Katcher/Daily Collegian)

(Will Katcher/Daily Collegian)

(Will Katcher/Daily Collegian)

By Derek Hunter, Collegian Columnist

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Transitioning into college is difficult for everyone. The stress of the application and acceptance phases of the college process is hard enough, not to mention the added stress of moving somewhere foreign and completely new. But the stresses don’t end there, as the ever-looming burden of tuition and other finances is always present in the back of students’ minds. Throw in classes, exams, sports, clubs and a job and you’ve created a concoction potent enough to drive a person crazy. In order to escape all the trials and tribulations of college life, many students find solace in their friends and family. Luckily for many of us on the University of Massachusetts campus, myself included, home is pretty close by. We have the luxury of being able to go home almost any weekend of our choosing, see our families and close friends from home and detox from all of that stress for a little bit.

But what about those students who are a little bit further from “home”? How do they deal with the mounting pressures of college stress when the comforts they’ve become accustomed to aren’t anywhere nearby? It can be more challenging than it seems.

On a campus such as this – one that is so homogenously “Massachusetts” – out-of-state and international students can be seemingly forgotten about. The student body is overwhelmingly in-state with 77 percent of undergraduate population from Massachusetts. The other 23 percent of students hail from all around the country as well as other countries around the world. While out-of-state students make up almost a quarter of the student body, that’s a fairly small number in the grand scheme of things. In the freshman class that started attending UMass in fall 2018, 3,500 students are in-state, while 992 are out-of-state and 518 are international. These students represent merely a fraction of the freshman class of over 5,000 people. It’s easy to forget how being far from home can be a huge weight on someone’s shoulders, especially for students trying to cope with being in an unfamiliar place, when those people are so outnumbered.

Finances, too, are another huge burden out-of-state students have to cope with. For in-state students, tuition and fees are $16,278 for the upcoming 2019-20 academic year. For out-of-state and international students, tuition and fees are $35,599 and $37,344, respectively. Total cost of attendance for in-state students comes to $29,876 annually, while out-of-state and international students end up paying $49,197 and $50,942 each year. While many in-state students have their financial issues as well, out-of-state and international students just simply have to pay more. About $20,000 more per year, to be exact. That’s not chump change.

So why does a freshman whose hometown is two hours from campus care about the woes of UMass’ out-of-state population? I’ve seen what the stress can do firsthand.

When moving into my dorm at the beginning of my first semester, I noticed that a lot of my neighbors in my hall were out-of-state. As the semester went on, my friend group grew to become comprised of these neighbors and surprisingly, it was pretty evenly split between out-of-state and in-state students. As I grew closer to them, I began to learn more and more about the financial issues many of them are facing. One of my friends in particular, Zavoun Watts, had what seemed to be an almost insurmountable financial hurdle. He told me about his inability to secure a loan and how it was nearly impossible for him to make a payment plan since it was up to him to pay it alone. Not only did he have financial trouble, but he was also far from his home and family in Alabama. Coupled with the stress of his financial burden and the sheer distance from home, he was unable to get any help and felt stranded. Watts was forced to move back home after his first semester.

Watts’ experience was fairly extreme, but it isn’t uncommon. Many out-of-state students experience similar struggles. My roommate, Jackson Coslit, has had financial issues of his own. A resident of New Jersey, he is closer to home than Watts, yet he still feels the brunt of out-of-state costs and he too can feel stranded when realizing the full scope of his financial issues. Coslit will not be able to attend UMass next year due to the financial struggles he is experiencing.

These students’ experiences represent what many people on campus experience day-to-day. But for students like Watts and Coslit, these experiences don’t disappear when they leave school. They have to deal with paying UMass and other loans back without having even graduated and acquired a degree. The stress carries itself outside of the campus perimeter and into their lives for years to come. These students shouldn’t have to face college wholly unprepared for the struggles they will inevitably have to endure due to their financial situation. There should be some level of assistance, financially and emotionally, when it comes to out-of-state and international students transitioning into college life. College is supposed to be the beginning of your adult life, not the beginning of life-long struggle.

Derek Hunter is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]

11 Comments

11 Responses to “The many struggles of out-of-state students”

  1. NITZAKHON on February 19th, 2019 7:09 am

    When I first went to college I deliberately went far away from my family.

    Is there nothing you people won’t whine about? Everyone at U Mass from far afield made the decision to come to U Mass KNOWING it was far away.

    Suck it up, grow a pair, and get to work.

  2. Amy on February 19th, 2019 8:53 am

    This article is absurd. Nobody made Derek go to Umass,he could have made a better choice and went to college in his state and saved money. Almost every state has a flagship college that is decent and then lesser colleges that will still provide you a solid launching point for your future.

    Derek chose to go here and then feels entitled. The reason there are actually an excessive amount of out of state students, the in state population should be about 90 percent instead of 77, it’s because they are a cash-cow. This has been openly stated, you were only admitted because you make the university more money. Welcome to reality!

    Second, the reason in state tuition is cheaper is because of tax money that goes to state colleges. Did you pay Massachusetts taxes your whole life or your parents?? I don/t think so…

    Out of state students deserve nothing more or coddling.

  3. Lily on February 19th, 2019 1:00 pm

    Amy, are you an idiot? Did you even read the article? The author is an in-state student. He’s writing about how the school is so expensive that two out of state students he knows personally can no longer afford to attend. You don’t know ANYONES struggles so if I were you I’d keep my *WRONG* opinions to myself, or at least read the article before criticizing it. Get a life.

  4. Anthony Taylor on February 19th, 2019 1:13 pm

    Loved this article was so real, not once did i feel like the author was “whining” about the position your in when attending college, just simply stating the facts, that college is an obvious scam, and being in debt for the rest of you life whether you attend a school in state or out of state is awful and isnt fair at all but i guess everyone is entitled to there own opinion even if there wrong, I like to think outside of the box and maybe think that there could be a better way to live than the way we live, but i can understand how small minded people could enjoy being indebt for the rest of your life

  5. Anthony Taylor on February 19th, 2019 1:32 pm

    I love the article, college is a scam and im horrified of the debt ill be in when i finally graduate and i personally dont like being in debt. I can imagine how some ppl could enjoy getting anally penetrated by colleges by i personally dont and its refreshing to see others dont like it either.

  6. Lance Johnson on February 19th, 2019 2:16 pm

    Sadly, Trump’s contentious issue is yet one more thing that makes being an international student away from home difficult, compounded by our complex culture and language problems. Welcoming and assimilation assistance must come from numerous sources, including the White House, to aid these young people embarking on life’s journey. Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from schools’ international departments, immigration protection, host families, concerned neighbors and fellow students, and even informative books to extend a cultural helping hand.
    Something that might help anyone coming to the US is the award-winning worldwide book/ebook “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.” Used in foreign Fulbright student programs and endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it identifies how “foreigners” have become successful in the US, including students.
    It explains how to cope with a confusing new culture and friendship process, and daunting classroom differences. It explains how US businesses operate and how to get a job (which differs from most countries), a must for those who want to work with/for an American firm here or overseas.
    It also identifies the most common English grammar and speech problems foreigners have and tips for easily overcoming them, the number one stumbling block they say they have to succeeding here.
    Good luck to all wherever you study or wherever you come from, because that is the TRUE spirit of the American PEOPLE, not a few in government who shout the loudest! Supporters of int’l students must shout louder.

  7. Evan Mestel on February 19th, 2019 8:24 pm

    I enjoyed reading this article and Derek hits on a lot of important points that I experienced myself when I was an out-of-state freshman many moons ago. UMass has always been a ridiculously expensive school and one which has endured many budget cuts and increases in tuition almost every year while the education one receives is the same and has not improved because of those things. I am still paying back my student loans to this day and $50,000/yr is way out of the price range of most middle-class families. Kudos to you Derek for realizing your college friends situations as it still haunts me to this day!!

  8. Thea on February 20th, 2019 12:37 pm

    Nice article, it shows the writer cares for others that were not lucky enough to grow up in Massachusetts. In-state students are fortunate to have Umass

  9. NITZAKHON on February 22nd, 2019 10:57 am

    Number one on that list should be: YOU assimilate to the US, not demand the US assimilate to you.

    Which means you learn English. Which means you understand that the US, as imperfect as it was and still is, has LIBERTY as its lifeblood, not servitude. We are individuals, not a Borgleft collective.

  10. SittingBull on February 22nd, 2019 2:41 pm

    “Lucky enough to grow up in Massachusetts.” Good to see that comedy is alive and well at UMASS!

  11. amy on February 22nd, 2019 6:04 pm

    Wow.. Lilly. So much hatred. So sorryyyy I made a mistake.

    I don’t think having to pay more money while going to an university, having a dorm, and establishing a solid future for yourself counts as a ‘struggle’. And again nobody makes out-of-state students go here. It’s a choice they made, it seems silly to whine about something you chose to do.

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