The College Experience on a Budget


Some students never make it past their first semester at big private universities.

Some students only make it through community college.

Some students just are not ready at 18-years-old to commit to their education in the way that’s required by a brand name four-year university.

Eventually, these smart students come around, and enroll at the closest university to their home to finish their four-year undergraduate degree.  Universities like our own East Stroudsburg University (ESU).

“I was surprised to find out how many students were older, like me,” said Jennifer Gavin while enjoying a beautiful afternoon outside ESU’s Stroud Hall, which stands on the site of the original building on campus.

In upper level classes it is common to see students who are in their late twenties to early thirties, which indicates the accessibility of the campus.

“If I could go to a well known four-year university, I would,” said ESU student Daisy Hernandez. “But, financially it makes more sense for me to be at a local, less expensive, university.  That’s why I came to ESU.”

ESU offers a full university atmosphere, but its status as a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) keeps tuition rates down, and financial aid abundant for those who qualify.          Most commuter students are able to get loans each semester that will cover all their tuition.

“ESU offers far more programs than Indiana Wesleyan University,” said Sarah Porterfield, who transferred to ESU in order to save money by living at home with her parents.

Students can choose from over seventy programs, and countless tracks, in four major colleges for undergraduate students, as well as a growing graduate program.

“I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do when I went to school, but I’ve figured it out here at ESU,” said Hernandez, an English major on the writing track.

ESU offers a breadth of amenities for the students that don’t live on campus.

There is a commuter student lounge on the second floor of the student union, where commuters can socialize, study, and even microwave their lunch.

“I like that I’ve been able to play with my classes enough to make it fit conveniently into my schedule,” said Valentina Caval, an ESU junior.  “It looks like my final semester here I will only have to be on campus two days a week, which is going to make working at my job so much easier.”

Hernandez has been able to easily integrate into the community here at ESU, despite living off campus.

“I work in the English department between classes.  It’s really interesting to be around all the professors and students that have the same mind as I do,” said Hernandez.

“That’s what’s great about our community,” said a first-year student, “It doesn’t matter that I live far away.  I can still participate in all the activities I want to—because the campus is so open and inviting.”

The East Stroudsburg University community is small enough that students who wish to participate in activities and clubs are able to do so easily, and are greeted with open arms by the advising faculty, as well as other students.

Interacting with the teachers and students that have the same major as her helps Hernandez keep her eye on the prize—what she wants to do with her degree when she graduates.

“It’s given me the opportunity to build a rapport with professors that I haven’t had classes with yet,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez’s goal is a fast paced career in publishing.

“I’d like to work in publishing or editing, so being in the environment of the English department so frequently helps me keep my eye on that goal.”

Hernandez, just like many students, is happy with her decision to attend ESU.  She is having a brand name college experience on a bread and butter budget.

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