Motivations beyond money important to first-generation college student

“The Finish Line Fund helped me a lot,” Dianna Alvarez said. “I wanted to be able to tell my family that I was finished. It was meaningful to be able to finish on time.”
Support the Finish Line Fund on Giving Day, March 23, 2022.

As a first-generation college student, Dianna Alvarez wanted to finish her degree on time. If her graduation date slipped, there would also be financial ramifications.

All that stood in the way of Alvarez and her dreams of a bachelor’s degree was one class: Demand Planning and Fulfillment. The Supply Chain Management major found herself unable to register for the course, which closed quickly.

“I couldn’t afford one more semester,” said Alvarez about the prospect of having to enroll for the fall 2021 semester. Because she would be taking only one course, Alvarez would be a part-time student and would not receive financial aid from the state. Alvarez also had to stop working her retail job because of the pandemic, adding to her financial pressures.

She contacted her Educational Opportunity Fund counselor, who connected Alvarez with the Finish Line Fund, which covered the tuition for the course in summer 2021.

The Finish Line Fund was created by Rutgers Business School Dean Lei Lei in 2016 as a way of providing help to students who encounter financial hardships as they approach graduation. On Giving Day, March 23, support Rutgers Business School – New Brunswick students and donate to the Finish Line Fund.

“It definitely mitigated any financial hardships. It helped reduce any potential anxieties about having to finish later than planned and helped me keep on track for my future goals,” Alvarez said.

After earning her associate’s degree in liberal arts at Union County College, Alvarez transferred to Rutgers Business School in New Brunswick. She wanted to study supply chain management because it combines international business, politics, and policy.

Motivations beyond money also were on Alvarez’s mind as she worked to graduate.

“It was important to me because I wanted to start on my career,” she said. “I wanted to be able to tell my family that I was finished. It was meaningful to be able to finish on time.”

“The Finish Line Fund helped me a lot,” she said.

Alvarez graduated in August 2021, celebrating with her family as the first one to graduate from college. “It definitely felt great. My grandparents were the most excited. I’m the only grandchild so it meant a lot to them,” said Alvarez, who now works as a logistics coordinator at Advanced Logistics in Roseland.

March 23, 2022 is Giving Day at Rutgers University. Support Rutgers Business School by contributing to the Finish Line Fund.

On Giving Day, donations must be made before 11:59 p.m. on March 23rd:

RBS Finish Line Fund - New Brunswick

RBS Finish Line Fund - Newark

Your contribution may be any amount as low as $5.

To contribute directly to the Finish Line Fund at any time, please go to this link and select “Rutgers Business School Dean’s Excellence Fund.”

- Story by Sharon Waters

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