Amid college admission scam, single mother tells House lawmakers how hard it was to pay for her college tuition – ABC News
After enrolling at the University of Toledo, Jenae Parker told members of Congress that she tried everything to stay out of debt.
Parker, now 29, said she received about $4,300 in financial aid through a Pell Grant and worked three jobs — at Starbucks, the campus grill and Target. But it wasn’t enough.
She took out more than $20,000 in federal and private loans, she explained Wednesday, but working the three jobs and going to school at the same time proved to be too much.
“It was exhausting, I could not focus on school and two years later I dropped out,” Parker told members of the House Education and Labor committee.
She went back to school three times over several years and in that time, got married, had a daughter, got divorced and worked a variety of jobs but ultimately earned her associates degree.
“Our bills got so tight we couldn’t afford food — and this wasn’t about ramen — we lacked enough money to eat regularly. Then we were evicted,” she said. “I thought this was my fault, but then I realized 50 percent of college students are also dealing with food and housing insecurity.”