I jumped with joy and was in tears when I got my acceptance letter but looking at the tuition fee and living expenses of New York, I realized that I won’t be able to attend college unless I have financial support. My education for 1.5 years would cost 120,000 USD.
Due to the timing of my offer, most scholarship applications were long overdue and the ones that still existed, I didn’t qualify for. I still reached out to them and the university to see if there were other avenues but sadly, it didn’t work out.
I come from a middle-class family in Shirva village in Karnataka, where my father retired from work after the 2008 financial crisis and my mother’s a housewife. I have been working for Trane Technologies in Bangalore as an engineer for 6 years now, but my life savings so far isn’t even enough to cover my rent or living expenses in New York, forget tuition fee. Growing up as a minority in India, I have learnt how education can uplift and change lives. I hoped studying in a good college would do the same for my family and I, but it is extremely difficult to find financial support and I have hit a dead end. I felt especially hurt that academic power institutions are exclusively out of reach of students despite the good grades and hard work, just because we do not belong to the affluent class in society. However, I refuse to live in a world where students like me can’t break out of these systemic structures designed to block upward mobility of the working class.
I completed my Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from R.V. College of Engineering, Bangalore in 2015. I deeply enjoy learning and helping others learn. I have worked as a mentor at Parikrama, a school for underprivileged kids, where I also mentored a student from high school and helped him prepare for his transition to engineering college. I recognize my privilege as an educated man in India and hence have always tried to help those who couldn’t afford to teach their kids.
I want to attend the Columbia University because I want to learn from some of the bests and take my learnings to engineer systems that are free of bias and discrimination and ones that serve all humans as one. I am upset with companies that use the same generic slogan of making the world a better place and instead build invasive tools to further deteriorate quality of human life. I intend to lead my masters with curiosity of all the things science can do to help us live in a greener and free world. Attending Columbia University would allow me to apply both my lived experiences and research background towards building good systems for all.
Studying Master’s in Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University would open doors to unparalleled opportunities that I otherwise would not have access to. It would change my life.
The total cost of tuition and living expenses is $120,000 USD. I would appreciate any support you can give whether it be donating or sharing this with your network.
Please find the cost breakup as per Columbia University website along with the link and my offer letter below.