Demand Smith Improve Financial Aid in the Midst of a Global Pandemic

Demand Smith Improve Financial Aid in the Midst of a Global Pandemic

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Smith Students For Fair Financial Aid started this petition to Smith Students and

 

 Smith, show us you care - support financially struggling students

DEMANDS:

We demand a full commitment to meeting students’ financial needs given the pandemic, in the form of increased grant aid rather than loans (taking into account the student’s current financial situation)

We demand a need-based stipend given to undocumented students and students on work study 

We demand that every Smith student’s final bill be at least *24.29% less than the bill they paid last year

We demand that no Smith worker is laid off in the name of supporting students’ financial needs

We demand a responsive care and attention to students reaching out about concerns surrounding their financial aid (including students who are financially independent), with an easily accessible and comprehensive way of meeting with SFS

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Many Smith students have been impacted by the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with low-income and undocumented students the most heavily affected. Smith has refused to take this into consideration, and many of the students’ final bills have increased beyond what they can afford, and this is reflected in the high volume of financial aid appeals, as confirmed by the Smith administration. This is clearly unfair considering the economic impact caused by the pandemic and the fact that all Smith courses this semester are remote. It is clear that the unprecedented crisis that COVID-19 has brought upon many students has not been taken into account in their financial aid packages.


Smith students are all facing different experiences at home including family unemployment, taking care of family members, and juggling school work with jobs to make ends meet. Smith’s FAQ mentions that there would be an increase of financial aid to mitigate the impact of the pandemic in the form of increasing the budget for personal expenses by $2,000. In a recent email, Smith also claimed that they have granted an additional $4,770 for first- and second-year students and $3,730 for third- and fourth- year students. Yet, many students have not seen this reflected in their overall bill. It is important to note that in calculating financial aid, Smith used the income from 2018, without any consideration for the huge financial impact COVID-19 has had on students and their families in the past 9 months. It is unsympathetic to expect low-income and financially-struggling students to pay this amount at this time of unprecedented crisis. 


What we are proposing will help ease financial burdens that students and their families are facing during this pandemic. Smith portrays itself as a college that meets full-need and provides excellent financial aid. It has prided itself in accepting low-income and undocumented students, yet once admitted, many students are left without the safety net they were promised. Now, during a time of crisis this safety net is needed more than ever. Smith has to follow through on its promise to equitably provide accessible education to every student.  


Whether you are a student, a parent, an alum, a professor, a staff member, or just a supporter of this call, please sign and circulate this petition. Together we can hold Smith accountable in fulfilling its image of a “culture of care.” Together we can demand that Smith centers the needs of its most impacted students, and prioritizes our well-being over profit. This fight will not be an easy one, but if there’s one thing our years at Smith has taught us, it's that when we fight alongside our fellow Smithies, anything is possible. 


It is audacious for Smith to claim their Covid-19 response plan is one centered on care while they quietly increase our bills beyond what we can afford. 

It is inauthentic for Smith to state that “financial aid packages will be reevaluated to ensure every student equitable access to the learning experience” when our bills reflect a very different truth. 

Together let us claim the agency to fight for what we deserve. 

 

 

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