NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – While educators are praising President Obama’s recently announced blueprint for making college more affordable, that announcement was not an immediate music to Dimetrius James II’s ears.
The junior Mass Communications major at Tennessee State University had just hours to come up with nearly $5,000 left on his fees and tuition or he would be dropped from his classes and sent home packing.
“I have never been so concerned, worried and almost frustrated,” said the St. Louis native, as he was about to be purged by the registrar’s office. “I had no where to turn; time was running out; and I couldn’t call my parents because they are both unemployed.”
As the cost to attend college continues to spiral upward, James and many students like him who yearn for an education but lack the means to support their dream, face an unlikely future.
But then it does not have to be this way, according to a group of other TSU students.
“To see our fellow students come this far and only to be turned away and cut short their dream for an education is just not fair,” said Devonte Johnson, president of the Student Government Association.
In what has been described as a “students helping students” initiative, and for the second year in a row, the SGA set aside funds from its institutional appropriation to help students like James who cannot meet their full fees.
At a gathering on campus this morning, the SGA president, accompanied by other officers of the student group, presented a check for $17,000 to TSU President, Dr. Glenda Glover to cover the extra expenses for 75 students who had a 4:30 p.m. deadline to come up with their balances or be dropped.
“I am very proud of our students to see the need to come to the aid of their fellow students,” said Dr. Glover, a TSU alumna, who recalled being nearly purged as a student because she did not have her full fees. “I know the feeling of coming this far and being told you are going to be dropped, but thanks to an organization, I was able to stay in school.”
Surrounded by other senior University administrators, the President thanked the SGA and TSU students, who she said, could have spent their funds for other activities, but felt helping their fellow students was a better use for the money.
Now James, who said he only heard about the SGA assistance this morning, can sit easy.
“This is a major help and very thoughtful of our student leadership,” James said. “I am very thankful to them and our financial aid office for all the help that is going to help me stay in school.”
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With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university and is a comprehensive, urban, coeducational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top Universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912 Tennessee State University celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu
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