To the Editor:

I am currently a third-year college student at the University of Vermont studying Community and International Development, Spanish Language, and Community Entrepreneurship. I am writing to express my concerns regarding the rising cost of higher education and the resulting lack of access.

On my 13th birthday I opened a card from my grandmother and found a $20 bill inside. My mom told me to save it because I would need to buy textbooks for college in the future. At the time I thought $20 was a lot of money and assumed I could buy as many books as I needed with that bill. Now I am 21 years old and realize that in order to buy books for a semester I need anywhere from 10 to 15 of those bills.

With two parents who live pay check to pay check, I rely on my financial funding and my two part-time jobs each semester to pay for rent and food.

While I have been very lucky, I worry each semester about my funds getting cut and about my grades declining from working too much. No student should have to live in fear of having to drop out of college because of insufficient financial support. This is why I am a member of the Put People First Campaign and why I will be at the Statehouse on Jan. 9. Higher education should not solely be for the wealthy; every human deserves a chance at a higher education at an affordable cost.

Ashley Moore Burlington