The New York Daily News this week featured the story of Carmela and Pasquale Sciannantena, a Bensonhurst couple working like dogs to find the money to send their 17-year-old quadruplets to college after they graduate from Bishop Kearney High School (2202 60th Street) this year, illustrating how even New York’s public higher education system can cost a pretty penny.
The girls - Mariagrazia, Michela, Elisa and Sabrina – were born in 1995 at Brooklyn Hospital, after mom Carmela turned to fertility shots when she had trouble conceiving.
Since then, Carmela and Pasquale have cared for their four girls – and, later, a fifth, Gabriella – with mom working at the school full time in the finance department and a second job as a cashier at night, while dad repairs commercial dishwashers.
The Daily News reports:
The Sciannantenas shell out $200 a week for food, $130 on cell phone service a month and thousands more a year on tuition at Bishop Kearney on 60th St. – a figure expected to rise considerably once the girls go to college.
To keep costs low, the Sciannantena girls will commute from home and apply to the same City University of New York school in the fall – where tuition would total about $21,720 for the four at a four-year college.
The family is also considering CUNY’s two-year colleges, which would cost $3,900 for each girl.
The parents are also busy filling out financial aid forms, loan applications and encouraging the girls to find scholarship money.
“I have no idea what I’m going to do,” said Carmela Sciannantena. “One way or another I’ll have to sacrifice. I might even have to get a third job, but I’ll find a way.”
Even at the two-year colleges, the total annual bill for tuition alone racks up $15,600 – highlighting just how expensive even public higher education can be.
But mom’s making sure the girls keep a good head on their shoulders, even if they’d rather go their separate ways.
“Sometimes when they do ask for things it’s hard,” she said. “But they have clothes on their backs, food on their table, a roof over their heads and two parents who are willing to do whatever they can for them. That counts more than anything else.”
Did you struggle to send you kids to college? What did you do to cope?