Students unsure of finances due to COVID-19


Valencia College

Students attend the annual Job Fair in the Special Events Center on the West campus on March 29, 2018 in Orlando, Florida.

Maria Varela, News Reporter

Many college students have found themselves on the financial edge due to the economic crisis caused by the nation-wide COVID-19 outbreak.

A lot of students live paycheck-to-paycheck; they have bills such as rent, tuition, transportation, and groceries. Many must balance classes with part-time or full-time work. Now, they have to stay home taking online classes while their income is completely reduced or even gone. According to the Orange County government, bars, wineries, and breweries were ordered closed since March 17. Restaurants are limited to only offer take-out and delivery.

The Federal government announced they will be giving away an economic stimulus, to all the citizens who filled their most recent tax report. Individuals could receive up to $1,200, married couples up to $2,400 – with an additional $500 for each child under 17. That raises the question: What is there for college students legally declared as a dependent upon their parents?

Jose Ferreira is a 20-year-old Valencia student majoring in Engineering, he works as a manager at McDonald’s.

“I am still getting paid, thankfully, because we are working non-stop. All my co-workers and I are going crazy, washing hands, wearing gloves and if somebody feels bad, we send them home immediately,” Ferreira said. “I have to keep working, otherwise, I might not be able to take classes next semester.”

Many other businesses have been severely affected, everything related to tourism – even Disney World has furloughed their workers – has closed down. Orlando’s many malls and outlets have shut-down and since the order was placed in Orange County, only “essential” workers are allowed to go out and report to work, and everyone who doesn’t have a permit is confined to stay home.

Andrea Gonzalez is a 17-year-old Valencia dual-enrollment student who works at Publix full-time. She said the grocery shop chain has implemented many changes, such as new operating hours from 8:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m. and a 7 a.m. opening on Tuesdays and Wednesdays while offering special assistance to the elderly.

“We are not receiving half of the products we used to,” Gonzalez said. Products in high demand, such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies, are being stocked “once daily and they are limited to one per family. “They haven’t said anything about closing down, as of now, they are finally asking us to wear gloves and masks, which I believe it should have done sooner, like other big chains,” Gonzalez said.

Hotels were a great source of employment for students like for Kiara Fernandez, a 20-year-old majoring in Business.

“I am not working anymore. I got furloughed and I am not getting paid,” Fernandez said. “I am grateful I’ve saved enough to not have to worry yet.”