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me e For some, living at Michigan
is an almost impossible
By Eve Becker
graduated last term after
four and a half years of
college. It takes that long
for many students to
graduate, but it took extra
effort from Fetterman
because he has had to work
his way through both a parochial high
school and college.
Fetterman, from St. Clair Shores, Mich.,
is the eighth of 10 children in his family,
and he is the sixth one to go to the
University. He's had to work during the
school year and put in up to 100 hours a
week during summers to finance his
His family can't afford to help him.
He was forced to finance his whole
education after the construction company his
father worked for for 25 years went out of
business. He received financial aid, he said,
but not enough to cover even tuition costs.
But besides the obvious financial
constraints students like Fetterman face, they
also have to deal with the fact that they are
poor at a "rich" school.
"The biggest problem I had on campus
was not feeling like I fit in here. This is
really a wealthy kids' school," Fetterman
said. "People in my situation don't have
much of a social life.
"It's very difficult for a person of my
background to meet others with the same
background," he continued. "The thing that
bugged me a lot was when someone would
say, 'Hey, let's go out to the bar tonight,'
and I'd say, 'No I can't. I can't afford it.' I'd
get strange looks... a lot of people at this
school don't know what it's like not to be
able to afford things."
"I know a lot of kids whose parents
deposit checks each month in their account.
There's a lot of spoiled kids at this school.
For me, to say my father was a bricklayer
was a tough thing."
Fetterman said he thinks that working
students are in the minority, but there are no
support services available to help them.
Minority students, he said, are much more
visibly organized to support each other. He
says he often goes out with people he works
with, rather than friends from classes or his
Becker is a Daily staff reporter.
Michigan. She's having problems financing
her education. Financial aid constitutes the
bulk of her resources. Her parents will not
have to pay for tuition, but Richardson
herself has to raise $900 this year.
The beginning of the semester is
especially hard for her because payments
have to be made when she comes back to
"Right now I can't buy all the books I
need this semester. I'm down to $8 until the
30th of the month," Richardson said. "I need
transcripts for the Ed. (School of Education)
program and I can't get them because I have
a hold credit on my account for $200."
R ICHAR DSON SAID SHE is
forced to borrow money from her
friends to pay her daily expenses.
"I haven't bought any food
since I've been here. It's bad es-
pecially on Sunday with only one meal (in
the dorm). I don't have any money to go out
and all I have here is a can of spaghetti.
Usually it's pretty tight. The weekend of pay
day, maybe I'll go out."
Richardson said she often feels
uncomfortable around campus because of the
pressure of her financial situation. She
cannot afford to be careless when spending
money so she has surrounded herself with
friends who don't value money as much as
some students do. Her voice takes on a
slightly bitter tone as she speaks of students
who spend a great deal of money going out,
or pride the
just not in
out. I'm a fig
is not impor
her course v
force her to
paying for s
she could g
if my aspira
it," he said.
mced, but soc
worked so i
dorm, because they understand him better. "If
you're a poor white kid, there's not a whole
lot to do," he said.
At a university where rate increases have
made tuition the highest in the nation for a
public university and second to Northwestern
in the Big Ten, students from poor families
are struggling to keep afloat. About half of
Michigan's students receive some financial
aid. But financial assistance is not enough to
support their education, these students say.
Al Hermsan, assistant director of the
office of financial aid, said 12,000 students
recive aid at the University. The University
tries to meet the financial needs of all in-
state students, he said, but non-residents
have no such guarantee.
In the process of determining the amount
of the aid awarded, the University decides
how much parents should be able to pay,
based on a nationwide formula. Many
students, however, say their parents are
expected to give them money even if they
can't really afford it. The University has an
appeal process which considers unusual
circumstances for financial aid, but there is
rarely a case when parents would be
exempted from contributing to tuition, if
they can contribute something.
If the high cost of tuition doesn't make
Patrick Fetterman (above,
working at Kinko's):
'A lot of people at
this school don't
know what it's like
not to be able to
Steve Counselman (above, on
the job at an IGA grocery):
'Even though I'm not
in school, I'm still
horizons. I think I'm
a better person. I've
students feel the financial crunch, the high
cost of living in Ann Arbor often does. With
efforts by developers to "upscale" the rental
and retail market in town, poor and self-
supporting students are facing a greater
struggle as opportunities within the
community gradually close for them. High
rates in University residence halls force some
students to look for cheaper off-campus
housing, but even the prices of off-campus
living, for a two-bedroom apartment, have
risen 17 percent over the past four'years.
Residential College sophomore Amy
Richardson is a native of Glen Arbor, Mich.,
a small town on the northern shore of Lake
PAGE 6 WEEKEND/JANUARY 23, 1987
WEEKEND/JANUARY 23, 1987