Before students go to college, there are certain essentials they need in order to succeed during their time on the Forty Acres. However, not all students have the financial means to purchase them. In 2020, 22.4% of the undergraduate population at UT were Pell Grant recipientsmeaning that a large percentage of the undergraduate population needed financial assistance.
UT should provide financial aid to cover moving expenses for admitted low-income students who are planning on coming or returning to this institution in order to assist them on their journey to achieve their college education.
Low-income students may struggle with the cost of traveling to UT with their belongings. This means putting more stress on students trying to move to college, especially if they’re moving to Austin for the first time.
Esperanza Inez Magana, an English freshman who lived in Brownsville before coming to UT, said that financial assistance would have been helpful when moving to campus.
“From Brownsville to here, it is already a six-hour drive, and the day I was supposed to move in was already a week into (my mother’s) work and school,” Magana said. “It wasn’t planned out … It was very quick and go because she couldn’t afford to miss work and I feel like if we did have a little bit of that financial assistance it could have been easier on not just me, but the rest of the family.”
Financial assistance for moving expenses would help alleviate the monetary burden that families feel when they have to take time off work. Being a low-income student might mean coming from a family that lives paycheck to paycheck. If financial assistance were provided for moving expenses, students would head to UT comfortably, without feeling like they put a burden on their families.
Although resources are available to assist students with school-related fees, there aren’t any to assist with moving expenses.
“The University offers financial consultation for students through Texas Financial Wellness and offers several resources for students such as Pell grants, TEXAS Grant, Texas Advance Commitment, UT4Me and the University Leadership Network scholarship. More information about these resources and others can be found at the Texas One Stop website,” Kathleen Harrison, assistant director of marketing and communications, said in an emailed statement.
The resources listed do provide assistance to low-income students, but only when it comes to tuition and technology. There’s not a single program in place that specifically seeks to aid low-income students with moving expenses. UT should do more to help its students, especially those who may struggle to make the trip to Austin.
It is important that UT understands the impact it could have on its students by providing move-in financial assistance. This would help alleviate an unnecessary burden on students who are already having to worry about a new school year, and would give them an opportunity to focus their time adjusting to UT.
DonJuan is a Plan II and Economics freshman from Quanah, TX.