DJ Bott isn’t going to let a lack of money stop her from following her dream, but says it would be nice if the California educational system didn’t hamper her every move. An out-of-state student from Miami, Fla., Bott is struggling to cope with the UC’s dire financial situation.
“My parents do struggle with tuition — they always put me first. They’re really selfless, which stresses me out, especially since I can’t get a job,” Bott said. “My mom doesn’t work, and my dad works but doesn’t always get paid on time. He sometimes pays my tuition instead of the rent for that month, and so I feel really bad. There’s a lot of stress on us as a family.”
Bott is one of many first-years coping with the student fee increases implemented by the University of California over the past year. A mid-year increase of $585 in 2010 and an increase of $1,334 for the 2010-2011 academic school year has brought the overall average cost of attendance to $53,580 for out-of-state students.
On the surface, Bott, a 19-year-old Porter College first-year, keeps her composure. Like any other first-year, she has her share of financial worries, but those worries are compounded by her out-of-state status.
“I didn’t really expect [these difficulties]. I thought I would get more loans, and I’ve applied for a ton of work study jobs,” Bott said. “Nobody takes me because I have no experience. It’d be nice if they gave me the experience here.”
In an effort to lighten the burden on her family, Bott is applying for California residency status. However, the process is long and Bott has a long way to go.
“I just got my new [driver’s] license,” Bott said. “I have to have it for a year to qualify.”
Regardless of the difficulties, Bott is determined to stay.
“My brother went to school at USC a decade ago, and I’ve been visiting him every summer,” Bott said. “I fell in love with California, and it’s always been my goal to come out here for college.”
Though her will is strong, Bott is troubled by her situation at home, and is worried that the price of a UC education is weighing heavily on her family. With this on her mind, Bott has plans to help out her family with tuition come next fall.
“I’m going home for the summer and getting a summer job at my old high school as a counsellor for writing camp, so hopefully I can set aside money to help pay for tuition,” Bott said.
Bott isn’t going to admit defeat in the face of UCSC’s financial fluctuations, but she has her own opinions about what out-of-state students should expect.
“I’m going to stay here … [out-of-state students] have to be prepared mentally for this, otherwise you’re probably going to want to move back home,” Bott said. “If you know what you want to do, you have to go for it.”
Know what you want: that’s something that Bott has a firm grip on.
“I don’t really need anything else in this life,” Bott said, “except to get an education.”