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San Antonio College Students On What They Expect From The Next President

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
These ten students are among the eleven we spoke to during early voting

College age students were among the groups registering to vote in bigger numbers than usual this year. We talked to a group of 11 students at San Antonio College who are casting ballots for a new president.  Not surprisingly, one of the issues they want the next president to tackle is college affordability. 

San Antonio College is a relatively affordable two-year school where students can often pay as they go. Those moving on to a four-year university, however, know they’ll pay more per year and may have to take out loans. 
27-year-old Shane Johnson is going to school under the GI Bill which pays for his education, but he says a friend is struggling to afford hers. “She graduated from Baylor last semester and she told me that her student debt is $70,000. Almost $900 a month, I think that is insane. I don’t’ believe education should be that of a struggle, or a hardship.”

22-year-old Jose Morales accepts that student debt is part of his getting an education. “Student debt, it doesn’t really bother me. What I’d really like to see is an available job market to help pay off that student debt. That would be a really big thing for me and a lot of students,” he said

21-year-old Quentin Longoria who majors in Business Administration says college shouldn’t be free but there should be more financial assistance “because my mother and father cannot afford to send me to college but the government says ‘yes, they can’ so they refuse me grant money” he says. “So I pay for it all out of pocket through my job and that’s why I come to SAC for affordability. And in addition I was looking at going to university as well I feel like there needs to be more loan options.”

The group of students I talked with included three who said they vote Democrat; five who identified as Republican, and three who said they’re independent or switch.  They ranged in ages from 18 to their late 30s, and expressed concern about a wide variety of issues including immigration and the need for racial unity.  

22-year-old Megan Halbadier, a radio-TV broadcasting major, said she wants elected officials who will be transparent and accessible. “They need to listen to what the people are saying, they need to listen to both sides, not just their own party’s side.”

Quintin Longoria also wants elected officials who will listen to voters. “I, in fact, expect that our president would have a higher standard of professionalism, maturity, understanding, judgement, and that they would be able to compromise with the other factors in government and not just seek out their own personal interests.”

25-year-old Benjamin Aaron, a veteran, says we need a better healthcare system and immigration reform “We do need to help other people in the rest of the of the world but you can’t try to pick somebody up and carry them if you’ve got a missing leg. We need to do that. The borders… we need to get that figured out. There’s no if ands or buts about it, the immigration also needs to be reformed."

This will be the first time several of these students vote for president, in a year when choosing the country’s next commander in chief has been a contentious, sometimes confusing contest.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules