As many colleges and universities across the country begin to close their campuses because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many students are left struggling to make other arrangements.
While some students can move back in with their parents and continue their education online, others are left stranded at risk of becoming homeless. These students at risk of becoming homeless have been reaching out to the public for help, and luckily, some kind strangers are offering to take them in.
While potentially becoming homeless is an extreme example, students are now facing all types of issues with uncertainty. Numerous students have reached out to us for assistance, and we’ve found that many are facing the same difficulties.
Keep reading for real student issues and possible solutions that could potentially help you too!
I can’t afford to get home
When my school announced that it was closing, I was given 5-days to pack up and move out. My family doesn’t have a lot of money and were not in a position to purchase a plane ticket for me. A rental car would have been the most cost-effective way to get there, but I’m not 25, and I don’t have a credit card.
I was panicking. I sold what I couldn’t fit into my suitcases to secondhand stores near my campus and anything else I could online. I found out that Greyhound was offering discounted bus tickets, but unfortunately, they needed to be purchased 7-days in advance.
I’m extremely lucky to have a friend living off-campus who is letting me stay with them for a few days before I can take the bus trip back. Keeping my fingers crossed they don’t close down the bus line.
I don’t have access to the internet at home
While in high school, it wasn’t a big issue that we didn’t have the internet. Many students at my school didn’t have access either, so we did a lot of our research projects during school hours in the computer lab. But now, I’m expected to stream lectures, and I don’t have enough data on my cell phone plan to support it.
With social distancing being federally mandated, I don’t have the option to go to my public library or community center. I’m so thankful for FRANK for letting me know about Spectrum Free Wifi. They have a program for students like me, who can’t afford internet access and install it for free.
I don’t know what I would have done if this service did not exist. It’s times like these we really need to come together and help each other out.
I don’t have a computer, how am I supposed to take classes online?
It’s embarrassing to admit, but I don’t own a computer, and neither do my parents. Now that I’ve moved back home, I have to complete my schoolwork on my cell phone, but I’m worried I’m going to have trouble connecting to group lectures. Once the lectures start, attendance will be mandatory, and I don’t want my grades affected because I can’t afford a computer.
I was worried I was going to fail my classes and maybe even lose my financial aid. I reached out to my school, and they let me know that some organizations actually offer free or discounted computers to low-income students. Why had nobody told me about this before?? You’d think these resources would be more readily available for students.
I’m so glad that I qualified for one of the programs and will soon have a computer so I can complete my semester and not risk losing my financial aid.
I took out loans to cover the cost of my education, dorm and meal plan – Will I get my money back?
I know we’re dealing with health issues, and I’m glad our schools are making our safety their number one priority. That being said, I’m wondering if we’re going to get a refund for the unused portion of our student meal plans or get pro-rated for our room and board. We’re only halfway through the semester— that’s a lot of money!
I took loans out to help pay for college, and if I don’t get reimbursed, I’m going to have to pay for something that I didn’t use. Plus, I’m going to have to pay interest.
I’ve tried reaching out to my college for more information, and I’ve been told they haven’t made the decision yet. I’ve heard that some colleges have been announcing refunds, so, for now, I’ll keep checking in with my financial aid office and hope that my persistence will pay off.
I can’t afford to move all my stuff home and I don’t want to get rid of it
I live(d) in an on-campus apartment that I fully furnished on my own. I can’t afford to repurchase everything again, and with everyone else moving out, I have nobody to sell it to. My only option left was to donate it to Goodwill.
As I was feverishly Googling, searching for hope or an affordable solution, I found what I was looking for. Uhaul is actually offering free storage for students who can’t move their belongings home or find themself having to move at a moment’s notice.
Such a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I may be in the minority, but I think this situation will be resolved by fall, and I’m glad that my things will be nearby campus and ready for me to move back in soon. (fingers crossed)
Are you a college student displaced because of the coronavirus? Do you have advice you’d like to share with other students in the same situation? Are you facing a difficult situation and unsure what your next steps should be?
Please let us know. We’re here to help. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.