I’m Sean Anderson, a student at Roosevelt University and a board member on the Illinois Board of Higher Education. I am also a self-supported student and a MAP grant recipient.
This need-based grant has been an essential part of my financial aid, an important addition to my federal Pell grant and the aid provided by Roosevelt. I am a junior studying business management, and each semester of my college experience so far I have gone right up to the edge of not being able to afford my tuition, as well as food and housing costs. This is a struggle shared by thousands of Illinois students at many schools.
I’m a transfer student; I spent two years at another institution before coming to Roosevelt. I’ve always worked, and trying to go to school and support myself has been incredibly difficult. Too often, I’ve had to choose between studying for my exams or working enough to buy groceries and pay the bills. I currently work 35 hours a week as a marketing associate for a consulting firm.
I cannot imagine going to school with a significantly reduced MAP grant, or no MAP grant at all. I have to think very strategically to put myself through school as it is. Thousands of students are like me and rely on MAP. Every $100 means something to us, and we need the help. Too many students are delaying or foregoing college because of financial challenges.
Despite the difficulties of paying for school, coming to Roosevelt has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The professors are exceptional in their expertise and their commitment to support students. Also, without joining Roosevelt’s Student Government Association in 2013, I would not be on the Illinois Board of Higher Education, which is a great experience and opportunity.
Upon graduation, my goal is to work in politics, public affairs, and/or policy—something related to public service. It has been my passion since I was a child. One of my first goals will be to help ensure the next generation has access to quality higher education, no matter their family or personal income. I try to focus on this goal in my service on the board because the current situation is unsustainable for both the state and for students.
We all understand the state is going through a very urgent financial crisis, but we must not let the urgent overshadow the important.