February 21, 2012

Middle class students don’t have it easy

I’m broke, hungry, and it’s lunch time at school! Being hungry at school makes me think about the benefits I can’t get because of my parents’ income.

There are obviously three classifications in our society: The well-to-do families, the not-so-okay families, and the middle people. Both my parents work and according to their incomes added together, we are categorized as a middle-class family. People in the middle class live with a roof over their heads, sufficient food at home, and a little extra money to spare. It sounds like a decent way of life, but the children of these families do not get any benefits at all when it comes to school and education.

For example, I do not qualify for free OR reduced meals at school (that includes breakfast and lunch), fee waivers for AP tests (which are now $87 per test) and college applications, and now I’m afraid I won’t qualify for financial aid.

Why should I be concerned about any of these things? The reason is because my parents make enough to support the family at home, but not enough to pay for every single AP test I choose to take in high school. They can’t afford my entire college education either, I mean, it’s not like we’re rich!

I don’t think the system is as fair as it’s supposed to be and something needs to be changed. Lower class people get so many benefits and programs to help them and upper class people can actually afford expensive things, but middle class people are stuck in between. We’re automatically denied the benefits that we need and are expected to be able to pay for everything without any help.

I think that it would make more sense if we weren’t charged so much for things. I’ll use AP tests as an example. If a student qualifies for a fee waiver, which is based on their parents’ income and the household family size, he/she only has to pay $5 for each test. On the other hand, if he/she doesn’t qualify, the price for him/her is $87. It’s either/or, and there’s no middle option. I believe it would only be fair if according to the income, the students stuck in the middle would have to pay more than $5 but less than $87.

So in conclusion, “middle people” should get some sort of waiver to at least lessen the prices of whatever is being offered at school. This system is quite corrupt, and if this change was made, maybe it’d make things easier for us.

  • Pegs

    You are so right Denise. Your observations are so correct for the middle class. I totally understand the AP test, SAT Prep Courses, etc. I was fortunate enough, barely, to afford these things for my children. But my daughter told me about friends who could only afford to take the SAT once. Not fair. The bottom has a protection net, the top has the money to pay it. The middle class high school and college student has a very tough road, and an often uncompetitive disadvantage. My goal some day is to help change that, even if it is in a small way.

  • Djdj

    I am one of those students stuck in the middle. The free or reduced lunch program won’t accept me and my two sisters, but we don’t even have enough money to pay for my moms medical bills. They don’t look at the whole picture because even if my dad makes a good amount of money what they deduct off of it is not enough to support the whole family.