Class Consciousness and the Impact of Stanford Policies on FLI Students
In an institution like Stanford, where class privilege is a norm, where you can be considered first generation and / or low income (FLI) even earning more than the median income in the United States, you would think that A shared humanity comes into play during times when students, vital members of our community, are in need.
Some home students may wonder about the lives of their peers who have had to stay on campus. This wonder is no surprise, given the constant erasure of these students’ experience in messaging university administrators, most notably Provost Persis Drell, Vice Provost Susie Brubaker-Cole and Shirley Everett, the senior associate vice-provost for residential and catering businesses (R&DE). If someone read their update letters, they might assume that all Stanford students are currently safe at home, with loving families, plenty of food to eat, and adequate space for homework.
About 600. This is the number of students who are staying on campus at the moment. These students have been allowed to stay in housing on campus because somehow they are at risk. They can have abusive families, overcrowded homes with no space to work – no space to to sleep – or parents who simply cannot afford to support them. These may be international students who may not be able to return to States if they return to their country of origin; they may be in a situation of housing insecurity or even homeless; or they may have a disability that requires housing.
Unlike many peer institutions, Stanford has decided to charge its most vulnerable students a high price for summer accommodation. The cost of living in a dorm from the end of the spring term to the start of the fall term is over $ 6,500. This comes down to around $ 2000 / month living in a dormitory and eating poor quality food in the dining room. Worse yet, summer financial aid (which usually only consists of loans and job offers) is only available to students enrolled more than half the time.
If someone earned Palo Alto’s minimum wage ($ 15.40 / hour) and worked 40 hours / week, they would have to contribute 88% of their paycheck. in the room and in the pension. If you need to earn some cash to pay for your tuition or medical bills, you’re out of luck. Even if this have been acceptable, Stanford has canceled nearly all student employment opportunities that FLI students frequently rely on for accommodation, food, and tuition. This political decision contrasts sharply with Stanford’s constant self-congratulatory message regarding diversity; this shows that when it comes to supporting at-risk students, Stanford is all bark, not bite.
So what are the aforementioned Stanford counterparts doing? MIT covers summer accommodation and food costs for at-risk students who need help, regardless of their enrollment status. Harvard is only charge their at-risk students $ 200 to stay on campus all summer. Stanford is the outlier here.
So what are these students going to do when, in less than 30 days, the term ends? Many of them are grappling with the possibility of homelessness and looming food insecurity, while dealing with the mental toll of a global pandemic.
To find out how this stressful situation was affecting other students on campus, Rachel interviewed an at-risk undergraduate woman on campus who prefers to remain anonymous. The following are very revealing excerpts from the conversation.
Rachel: So what would have happened if you hadn’t gotten Spring Housing?
Student: I legitimately do not know. Uh, my family don’t have a home? My dad has moved and surfed on a couch and has no place to live. Uh, so… I really don’t know where I would have gone.
A: So basically if you hadn’t got spring on campus housing you were considering being potentially homeless, right?
A: If you don’t get summer housing, do you expect to face the same kind of hardship as in the spring?
A: How it feels to try to do your homework now while worrying [potential homelessness]?
S: It was really stressful. For example, the day they sent the email saying they weren’t going to cover any summer accommodation, I had my biggest semester of the term and was very upset, and I don’t think so. doing well because I was really stressed. about that.
A: What do you think of the cost of housing this summer?
S: I am quite upset about this. I don’t know how I’m going to cover it. My internship… I have an internship that’s going to pay off, but it’s not a consistent payment schedule, and I don’t know how much it will be, and I won’t be able to prepay at the start of the summer. So I don’t know how I will come up with the cost.
A: Many students receiving financial aid feel misled because Stanford’s support is not as unconditional and generous as it might have been made to believe on Admit Weekend.
S: I think it’s particularly misleading, given, you know, it’s a common experience for a lot of people who, like me, applied to schools like Stanford and the Ivies, because I knew it was the only way to get sufficient financial assistance. go to the University. It’s frustrating to see other schools like the Ivies still not doing the best job they can but being a lot more transparent and helping [vulnerable] students far more than Stanford, while Stanford is just as capable.
A: Are you able to sign up for summer courses for help?
S: Theoretically… yes. But if I did, I would have to give up my internship, which is very important for my distant projects. And I would also use a quarter of the help I need for the rest of the year. So I would have to take off a quarter elsewhere, which would be pretty awful. And I don’t know how I could afford to do that either.
A: Are you planning to live off campus in the summer?
S: So I thought about it. I’m obviously concerned about paying for it and being able to deposit and stuff like that. I just don’t have the money for it. And then I’m very, very worried that if I leave campus for the summer, I won’t be able to come back in the fall, and I don’t have the means to stay off campus for the summer and there. fall and for the foreseeable future.
A: What do you think of the fact that more privileged students can enjoy the summer at home, while at-risk students who need to be on campus are encouraged to enroll just to have a safe place to sleep? ?
S: No, I think that is not acceptable. And for many people, summer is a very important time. Even students who live at home, I’m sure they would prefer to be able to do internships. So obviously it sucks for all of us, but most of all it sucks to be forced into a choice that you would never have made otherwise.
A: Does it seem like Stanford has been open and transparent with information for students on campus?
S: Oh, absolutely not. I’m so sick of getting these vague emails saying that may be soon they will give us information on something that rather important for our ability to have housing.
A: Do you feel like the Stanford administrators understand your struggle and respect what you are going through right now?
S: I think it’s very likely that they understand what I’m going through. I don’t think they care.
A: What do they seem to care about?
S: Reimburse money for all accommodations in which no one will stay during the summer. Because usually they could rent housing at summer camps or other events that take place on campus, and they lose all that income, and that’s the only way to make up for it.
A: Would you say that many of the students who remain are in a situation similar to yours, facing potential homelessness?
S: Yeah, absolutely. And many of them are international students who literally had no choice but to return home, or students like me who are homeless, whose families are homeless. So here is. It is certainly not easy for anyone.
A: Do you feel like your Stanford peers who aren’t on campus understand this?
S: I think friends I’ve talked to understand now, but mostly because [the email announcing that there would not be support for summer housing] didn’t go to anyone except the students on campus, the others just don’t know what’s going on.
A: Does it look like Stanford is coming up with information about students staying on campus, students at risk, to the rest of the Stanford community?
S: Absolutely not. And it’s also a little frustrating that all of the articles that have been published, even in The Daily and things like that, are about international students left behind on campus. There were hardly any homeless students on campus or other very low income students on campus.
A: Yes. Would you say you feel invisible?
S: Yeah, absolutely.
Are you a FLI student, a student of color, a student with a disability, or a member of another marginalized group and have specific challenges related to COVID-19? I’m looking for interviewees for an upcoming podcast on the issues these students face. If you want to share your story,
Contact Rachel D’Agui at rdagui ‘at’ stanford.edu and Maryam Khalil at mmkhalil ‘at’ stanford.edu.
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