Former Student Association President Alyssa Palacios said in an email to The Spectrum that she had “no choice” but to resign from her role due to financial restraints that forced her to leave UB.
In the email, Palacios says she hopes to return to the university in the near future.
“I’m currently taking a leave of absence from the university with plans to return and finish my senior year once I can get my financial hold removed,” Palacios said. “Fingers crossed that it’s this fall, but it could also be next spring.”
Palacios says she was paid well by the Student Association — her $15,750 stipend helped cover more than just her tuition — but that she was still unable to afford the school. She says she didn’t count on UB reaching out to help with financials because as a national issue, tuition costs are “larger than UB.”
“Tuition across all universities continues to increase and causes a financial burden on many students,” Palacios said. “I definitely think universities should offer more assistance to students in need who have exhausted all other options.”
Last August, Forbes reported that students at four-year colleges and universities have seen a 497% increase in tuition between the 1985-86 and 2017-18 school years. That is more than double the inflation rate.
Palacios says she is one of the many casualties of this shift.
She says she tried using UB’s scholarship portal and contacting the “appropriate departments for assistance,” but that nothing she did helped.
Palacios says she is certain there are other students in similar situations. She says tuition costs are one of the “biggest financial burdens” on students and their families. While she hopes to return to UB in the fall, she feels that finances shouldn’t be the “determining factor” on whether or not she receives an education.
Palacios resigned as president on Feb. 21, just 23 days after taking office on the heels of Adolyn Cofie’s Jan. 19 resignation. She says she kept her e-board apprised of her possible departure so they would be well prepared in her absence and that she informed the SA professional staff of her resignation a day before leaving.
Nelaje Branch assumed Palacios’ role after she left office. Branch was nominated in January by Palacios to be her vice president, and she became president on Feb. 10 after Palacios resigned and in accordance with SA by-laws. Sayan Trotman, who was elected treasurer on the HERstory line in September, remains in her original position.
On Feb. 10, Branch began the search for a new vice president. In an email addressed to SA staff members, she asked applicants to respond with their name, graduating year and resume.
Palacios says she supports the current staff and is excited to see what they accomplish.
“I just want students to know that SA was able to smoothly transition after my departure and the students are still in very capable hands,” Palacios said. “SA has an incredibly hard-working staff who will continue to make this year amazing!”
Alexandra Moyen is the senior features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @AlexandraMoyen
Alexandra Moyen is the senior features editor of The Spectrum.