The total cost of attending Columbia University may be sky-high at $66,604, but that doesn't mean all of the undergrads there have money.
A new page on Facebook called Columbia University Class Confessions, which already has more than 3,000 likes, is a place where low-income students can express their frustrations about attending school with privileged classmates.
Unlike most college confessions websites or Facebook pages, Class Confessions has nothing to do with naughty hookups in the janitor's closet or stealing a roommate's expensive shoes. These confessions are purely about what it's like to be around wealth without having access to basic necessities like housing or sufficient food.
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One student discussed how many students at Columbia own $700 Canada Goose coats when they can't afford a coat in decent condition, writing, "352: If we collected all the canada goose coats at columbia and gave those people nice $50 winter coats instead (which is more than my aggregate lifetime coat spending), [and with the money saved] we could pay my rent, food, and subway till graduation and buy everyone on campus who needs a coat a nice $50 winter coat. And I could be a lot less bitter walking around campus with patches for pockets."
Another student wrote that it was not their choice to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) but that they simply studied it for job security: "#350: My passion is in the arts, but I'm in STEM to pay for my education & so that I & my family can eat. I balance academic work w/ 2+ jobs, so I don't have time to go out or expand my social circle. It's worsening my depression, but it's slowly paying off- I can now send money home & still have some money for myself. It pisses me off when rich arts majors tell me that they are jealous of my situation, that I can get a job due of my degree. I couldn't do arts in the first place cuz I'm too poor..."
One student felt so discouraged by the campus environment that they said they are glad their younger sister did not get admitted to the university because she won't have to experience the alienation they felt in school: "#347: Today, my younger sister found out that she won't be joining me at Columbia next year. Is it wrong that I am happy she didn't get in? My talented and passionate little sister will never feel alienated by Columbia and the majority of its student body. She will never have to turn down expensive weekend plans her friends made. She will never have to take out additional loans to cover the taxes she can't afford on a need-based grant. Columbia is a great school, but she will thrive somewhere else."
University officials told Bloomberg Business that the school offers underprivileged students support through workshops, events and an advising center.
One positive outcome from the Facebook page is that the creator of the page,Toni Airaksinen, told Bloomberg that many students have messaged her asking how they can help their low-income peers. She also said the administration has reached out to see what they can do to help close the gap.