Financial aid systems cripple HBCU’s

All your life you wanted to attend a Historically Black College or University instead of a traditional college such as Florida State. That decision comes with many advantages and disadvantages.

Most students on the campus of Florida A&M University agree that the departments, majors and professors are not the reason for the disadvantages compared to non-HBCU’s. The only thing that separates the two is financial aid.

“I never wanted to attend a non-HBCU,” said Kara Johnson, a 20-year-old junior health care management student from Tallahassee. “I have always wanted to attend FAMU. I love my major and how they operate. The only, and I do mean the only reason that there is a disadvantage to attending an HBCU, such as FAMU is the late sending, standing in a three hour line, only to get a we don’t know what went wrong answer, financial aid.”

More students are baffled on why students at FSU are receiving better assistance than FAMU.

As Imani Pickett, a writer for the “Emerging Minds,” stated in her recent article, the only problem that black schools are lacking is leadership.

“Every school, black, white, green or yellow, has its problems,” Pickett said. “When comparing institutions or deciding where to attend college, blacks need to do research.”

Jane Ohen a 24-year-old junior biology student from N.J. said, “Coming from a county college, where things were more organized, it is hard to understand why we as blacks, can’t get something as simple as letting students know they need to have a verification worksheet.”

Ohen questions how students at a HBCU can grow when they are so worried about how to pay rent because their financial aid has not yet been awarded.

Though the story of financial aid seems to be a broken record, students are fed up with the lack of leadership; they leave HBCU’s such as FAMU with a bad taste in their mouth.

“I have tried to stick it out with FAMU,” said Kyla Young, a 20-year-old sophomore sociology student from Pensacola. “I love the school of sociology, but I have nothing but disgust for the financial aid department,” Young said. “I have already filled out a application to attend Florida State.”

Yet, once students pull through what seems like a lifetime at financial aid, the reward for attending and graduating from an HBCU is much greater than financial aid could ever put one through.

The rise of students getting jobs after college is greater than non-HBCU’s, according to Aneer Rukh-Kamma, a doctoral degree candidate at Howard University. “It seems easier to develop close relationships with your professors at Howard,” said Rukh-Kamma, who attended both an HBCU and a non-HBCU.

Students have pride in FAMU and all agree that it is not the school itself, it is just the administration.

“I don’t see a reason for SGA, a new interim president, nothing at all,” said Gina Howard, a 19-year-old sophomore history student from Mobile, Ala. “We can scream there’s a problem and they calmly say we will try our best to fix it. We can scream for months and months and never see a dime. I have little to no hope for FAMU, I keep praying that someone will stop waiting for someone else to do their job.”

Howard says she praises the professors who help and care for the students.

“I throw my hands in the air because there is nothing wrong with a HBCU, we have the advantages over white schools and we come prepared because of the professors and the deans,” she said.

Though the school has many highs and lows, students agree that we have the advantage over non-HBCU’s.

We just have to keep our heads up high and have hope because financial aid will get better and we as a school will keep up with the excellence that is traditional and expected.

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