Why We Do What We Do

These personal stories from students at Jesuit institutions throughout the country are representative of the success of federal student aid programs. Click below for select examples from a small group of schools. Each AJCU institution is proud to host hundreds of students receiving financial aid.

Success Stories

As a student at Santa Clara University and a recipient of various forms of scholarships and grants, I understand what it is like to have to pay your own way to get something you want. However, with the fragile state of the economy and the failing of the majority of the small business private sector, my family has been hit especially hard. My father’s small business is currently bankrupt, and our family barely sustains itself on my mother’s income as an executive assistant. It has become increasingly difficult to gather up the funds that I require attending SCU, and it indeed would not be possible without the assistance of both the University itself and the federal government. While my PELL Grant Award of $1,200 may seem nominal, our family physically cannot afford to make up that difference in addition to the amount we are already required to pay for school. If the PELL Program is discontinued, which I fear it might be, I will no longer possess the necessary funding to attend Santa Clara University, and I may be forced to withdraw. As unfortunate as this situation is, it is a reality not only for me but for countless other students whose families are struggling just to make ends meet. I am imploring whoever is the recipient of this appeal to reconsider the discontinuation of the PELL Grant Program in the hopes that they will recognize that this is a worthwhile investment in the future of our country. – Austin Tompkins

I am writing this letter in regards to the possible reduction of the federal pell grant. I am a freshman student at Santa Clara University and my parents wish to support me with my college education to the best of their abilities. However, this is difficult to as they have started a new business in the last couple of years thus dropping their amount of income. With such a low income, it is nearly impossible for them to assist me and my older brother with the paying of our college education. Last year when I had to make university selection, financial aid made the biggest impact imaginable; it literally enabled me, to attend a university with the caliber and cost of Santa Clara University. If I had not been given this assistance, especially the federal Pell grant, I would definitely not be able to attend Santa Clara University. I would probably be a part time community college student working full time instead to raise the money that my parents, who have suffered through the tough economic times, unfortunately are without. They simply do not have the money to pay for an SCU education or even a UC or state college education for two college students, my brother and myself.

"The Pell Grant was the final factor, in addition to other financial aid, that has enabled my brother and me the opportunity to get the education we worked hard in high school to deserve and that my parents always wanted for us. Without this entire $5,500 from the pell grant, my brother and I would definitely not be able to have both attended SCU. It might not be the hugest part of our near $39, 900 tuition, but it was huge factor because without it my whole tuition amount would not have been covered. My parents simply did not have any funds to pay this $5,500 for two students, let alone to pay even a$1,000. The pell grant essentially has enabled me to attend SCU and without I simply could not. A decrease in a $1,000 or any amount of less or more would put me and family in a position of not being able to pay the cost of my tuition. My school cannot offer us anymore funding, and so this would mean my brother and I would either have to drop out of SCU or be a half-time students until we worked for the rest of the tuition cost. Either way it would have a huge negative effect. My family, and the many others like us, appreciate and depend on grants like the pell grant and without it our lives really will be changed for the worst. Everybody deserves a chance to excel to the best of their abilities through the opportunity of a college education. Some may never get this opportunity, like my brother and I, without the help funds like the federal pell grant. With this said, when making decisions on cutting federal financial aid, please keep in mind how any amount of money, can really impact a student’s life. Keep in mind the huge significance this aid makes to students across the country, like my brother and I." – Harlene Grewal

"Federal Aid has played an immense role in getting to where I am today. When I was accepted to Santa Clara University and I received the aid letter, I was upset by the data. I wasn’t receiving any aid beyond the grants and loans from Santa Clara. I had previously applied for a Wells Fargo Scholarship and was entered for the CAL grant. Unfortunately, I received negative responses from both sides. Santa Clara aid was all I could rely on. However, as generous as the reward from Santa Clara University, it was still a great margin off of tuition costs. At this point I was convinced that Santa Clara University was out of my league. However, after some guidance from the Santa Clara University Financial Aid Counselors, I reapplied for the CAL Grant made some adjustments and the aid came through, enabling me to take on the role of a Santa Clara University Student. 
"The Pell Grant and other federal aid that I received and continue to receive are essential to fulfilling my education at Santa Clara University. If the fund of $1,000 dollars is cut, it will make it harder for me and my family to afford the costs of attending Santa Clara University. This is because with our previous situation as a middle income family we were already having a little trouble getting by. But, a few months back, my father recently lost his job and is currently looking fro new employment. The $1,000 dollars will be detrimental to the decisions I will have make within the next few years to come. I want to acknowledge once again how important this aid is to me and how much it has granted opportunities and affected my standing as a Santa Clara University Student." – Sabah Jaka