Giovanni Moujaes: Daily Trojan


A junior at the University of  Southern California writes a letter to University president lamenting how expensive a four year college degree has become. Giovanni Moujaes’ timing here is somewhat incongruous as he likely purchased a plane ticket, stayed in expensive hotel, bought pretty girls expensive drinks, dined in fine restaurants, etc during Spring Break. 

Dear President Nikias,

Spring break is over and yet many of my fellow Trojans come back restless, not because of the fun they had traveling but because of the looming bills and payments that await them.

While students should be able to focus and hone in on getting good grades and enjoying their college experience, many face the pressing issue of college affordability.

Two weeks ago, students rallied against an $1,978 increase that would put tuition at $51,442, higher than Stanford, Yale and Harvard.  The demonstration drew national media representation, yet you refused to meet with any of the courageous students(you mean whining about the debt you owe the lender?) who shared their stories with the public. Your administration even turned a prospective student away from attending the University after he witnessed the rally and made a point to voice his concern to officials.

I urge you to reconsider and meet with the students who have expressed their financial hardships(Your financial hardships are your burden….school is in no way required  to adjust fee schedules or tuition rates….As long as their enrollment numbers meet their targets, they are happy no matter who gets left in the cold). We need to know where our money is going as any good ratepayer should. And most importantly, I want you to explain your side of the story as to why such obscure procedures continue at a leading academic institution.

I cannot help but continue to shed light on a serious problem that has affected thousands of students and me. The rising cost of education at USC forced me to consider transferring out of the University last year when I was a sophomore.

I spent hours writing college essays in addition to my actual college essays and found myself stressing over every grade. Without doubt, it was one of the worst points in my life. Knowing that the amount of time and effort I put getting into this school in the first place could be washed away was hard to even comprehend. It felt like it was senior year of high school all over again, except much more expensive.

The USC Financial Aid Office, instead of congratulating my parents for making smart financial decisions to better prepare them for a sustainable retirement, slapped them on the wrist. To maintain the grants I received my freshman year, my family would have to forgo the future guarantees of financial security that they had tirelessly worked for(Why don’t you drop out of school and get a job?). Having parents who went through the worst in the real estate and health insurance industries during the recession, it made no sense for me to put them at any more of a risk. The investment they were already making in my education — and soon to be my sister’s — was more than I could ever ask for.(I wonder if the tenured professors of USC would take pay cuts to make tuition lower?)

It was by the grace of the Town & Gown of USC that I was able to stay and finish my college career as a Trojan. Because of the stress this situation put on my family, my sister chose not to even apply to USC. I know other families that have made the same decision.(Going to college is not a right as you seem to believe, it has a price tag, especially at high end institutions of learning like USC)

USC cannot continue to tout all of the positives it’s doing in relation to financial aid (Pell grants, endowment, etc.) by diverging from the truth. I commend Undergraduate Student Government and other students for working hard to get this very truth from you and the administration, and I will continue to back such efforts. I will always step up to the plate and defend USC’s advancements, but your administration’s failure to communicate with students makes it harder for me to do so.(The student’s opinion has no weight on matters regarding the price of tuition, of course any lower to middle class student is gonna want lower tuition rates)

What am supposed to say when a family comes up to me during an admitted student reception and says, “How is financial aid at USC? Is it guaranteed?” or “Do you know where the money goes?” A family can make $150,000 a year and get nothing in financial aid; yet, that’s almost what it takes to pay for one year of schooling when taxes and other expenditures are put into play. It just does not make sense.

Even partial scholarships have less of an impact on students every year. A $15,000-a-year award will barely cover tuition hikes by the time a student graduates. And yet we are meant to make a big deal about it. Somehow now that student can afford college. Somehow, now that student can truly be a proud Trojan.

Thousands of students are in worse financial predicaments than mine. I’m writing this in terms of principle and that no one should have to convince their family to lessen their future financial security, especially after a recession, to attend the college of their dreams.(Giovanni, the reality is today’s colleges are run as businesses with bottom line financial goals similar to the many for profit vocational schools. There are plenty of families who are not on the financial margin who can send their progeny to universities without out having to scratch and claw to pay for it. That is why your eloquent pleas will fall on deaf ears since there are plenty of potential students who can sign on the dotted line and afford it. Nobody cares about fair anymore….Good Luck, you will land on your feet somewhere)





7 comments on “Giovanni Moujaes: Daily TrojanAdd yours →

  1. Matt Taibbi is also under the illusion that comparably low 3.4 percent interest rates on key federal student loans is a guaranteed right for the entitlement generation. One can not blame the Me generation, I mean the millennials for crying and whining about the possible doubling of the 3.4% student loan rate. These punks grew up actually believing it is the government’s function to provide for people whose parents don’t make enough money. If you can not afford to enroll in a place like USC then tough shit. I do empathize with the plight of Giovanni Moujaes who is trying to establish a dialog with school admins who don’t seem to care. I do agree he will just be replaced by a warm body from a family who can afford it without having to rely on grants or scholarships.

    The story about Alan Collinge being fired for asking for a raise which was financed by Sallie Mae was depressing. Alan’s debt almost tripled from $38K to $100K due to interest, fees,and fines. Hard to believe a guy with a degree in aerospace engineering would remain unemployed that long. Maybe he was not willing to work at Walmart or retail.

    1. The article suggested USC tenured instructors take salary reductions to free up more money for financially challenged students.

      Did you read piece written by Caroline Fredrickson’s adjunct professor neighbor Mitch Tropin who teaches at SIX colleges in DC area? Caroline opines that is not fair in any viable academic paradigm.

      1. How about taking money away from tenured complacent arrogant teachers and giving it to grossly underpaid adjunct instructors who use their cars as offices and are perceived as inferior by full timers, but deeply admired by students for their professionalism, dedication, teaching acumen, and first rate pedagogy.

        1. Around 17 students stormed into Boyard and towards the president’s office door before being restrained by Timothy Bessolo, Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs, who blocked students in the hall and told them to conduct their excoriation of president in a more civil and less disruptive and boisterous fashion.

          He also stated clamorous protesting students never availed of the option and opportunity to meet with Vice President for Student Affairs Ainsley Carry during her posted office hours.

          Kelly Reinke is a senior at the University of Southern California studying Broadcast and Digital Journalism and Political Science and will corroborate the unruly and poorly organized nature of this opposition assembly along with the presence of an uncharacteristicaly inarticulate tenured faculty member.

        2. Related is former tenured professor Karen Kelsky’s contempt and disdain for the Midwest and academia. Karen Kelsky believes in the afterlife as she characterized Midwest ethos as soul sucking. She dropped the F word multiple times attacking her advisors for not helping he find a job with her cultural anthropology degree putting up essentially a hate website vis a vis those interested in being career academicians. Other than all that, she appears to be a well balanced person ending very few of her sentences with prepositions.

    2. Your boy Giovanni Moujaes is a crusader for battling the injustices committed against the homeless in Los Angeles. He cites the seminal work of UCLA law professor Gary Blasi who reveals many brutal realities including the harsh fact that 50% of the masses income is spent on rent! This will obviously lead to homelessness and gentrification.
      Moujaes Believes city and federal governments should step up and provide affordable housing solutions in much the same way they should help defray exorbitant USC tuition. After all, why shouldn’t poor people have exactly the same rights as the people who have gotten ahead by not having had a lot of kids and who have saved their money for a rainy day?

    3. Dentist Philip C. Haney of Roswell New Mexico wanted the city to know his daughter had been accepted to penn state school of medicine. Victoria Haney is urged by proud papa to go forth and set the world on fire. I doubt she has any student loans to pay back with her education being funded by scholarships and daddy’s fat wallet as suggested by 4 inch by 6 inch advertisement in RDR which provided advertisement for DDS father also.

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