CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — When Andrew Perez plays with his 2-year-old son, it brings a smile to his face. With inflation driving prices up for gas, groceries, and childcare, it’s leaving him with a worrying feeling behind that smile.
He found himself at Del Mar College’s financial aid office on Thursday. He wants to attend college, but if he doesn’t get financial assistance, he won’t be able to.
“It’s just — I don’t have the money myself or I’m not eligible to get a loan that's big enough to pay for any type of college,” Perez said.
He said his fiancé is also hoping to attend the college with some financial assistance, but might not be able to.
She works a job that pays her $12 an hour, which is far above the minimum wage, but it’s not enough pay to accommodate rising inflation costs.
“If I don’t get that aid, I probably will put off college for a little while and if one of us gets it, that’s more than beneficial for us,” Perez said.
Del Mar College’s financial aid service's director Joseph Ruiz said they’re seeing a five percent increase in students applying for FAFSA for the upcoming school year. He attributes that to inflation.
Ruiz said they’re also seeing more Federal Pell Grants being awarded.
Del Mar College also has scholarships available for students struggling to pay for tuition.
Vanessa Nelson is about to be a freshman and was also applying for tuition assistance through FAFSA at Del Mar College’s financial aid office. She sat at a table on Thursday with her friends who were also applying.
“(I'm) excited for college, just not excited to pay for it,” Nelson said.
She said she just bought a car with a loan and is going to be paying for college herself.
She’s hoping she will get assistance to pay for tuition because with rising inflation costs, it’s been a struggle paying for everyday items.
“With my job, I’ve only been working there for so long so it’ll take time to conjure up that money and I can pay it off shortly instead of all at once,” Nelson said.