“I’m the first in my family to attend college and I’m also independent from my parents,” Dawes said. “It’s always been my dream to go to school but it can get discouraging with my financial situation.”
The estimated four-year cost of attending CSU for non-resident undergraduates is $37,916 and Dawes faces monthly struggles in coming up with enough funds to make ends meet.
Of the 21,247 full time undergraduates at CSU, 68 percent applied for financial aid. Fifty-four percent receive no grants or scholarships, according to the CSU Department of Student Financial Services.
“School is so stressful in itself and then having to worry about having enough money to pay my bills this month really takes away from your ability to engage in classes,” Dawes said.
The junior finds it difficult to devote the necessary energy to her classes simply because she has so many personal financial responsibilities. Without any grants or scholarships, Dawes is paying for her education and living expenses through student loans and a work study position as an elementary school tutor.
“There’s times when she gets really concerned about if she will be able to continue her education just because of finances,” said Amy McMakin, Dawes’ mother. “I have confidence that my daughter has a really good head on her shoulders and will stay driven to find success.”
From working full time to pay for the time she was a part-time student at a community college in New York, to adding two years to her schooling in order to save money needed for living expenses, Dawes has persevered to stay in school.
“She’s always been the person that can find the silver lining in a situation,” said Pam Delucia, Dawes’ high school teacher. “Danielle would never fall victim to an obstacle, she just always stayed positive and succeeded.”
Dawes said that she maintains a positive outlook on her situation by reminding herself that she has succeeded independently in the past and can continue to do so.
“Whenever I get discouraged or stressed out, I just take a step back, take a deep breath,” Dawes said, “and know that this is all going to work out because going to school is my ultimate dream.”
Collegian Campus Beat Reporter Lauren Rullman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.