by Amanda DiSilvestro, Daily Vidette Senior Staff
In response to the recent lack of government funding for education, many universities across the country have been forced to cut federal work-study programs in order for the state to compensate.
Universities being hit the hardest include Reading Area Community College in Pennsylvania, Washington State University, LeTourneau University in Longview Texas, and most notably Arkansas State University who received $128,000 less in work-study funding this year in comparison to their usual $560,000 amount.
Michelle Cornell, coordinator of student loans and processing, explained there are many benefits to offering the federal work-study program at a university, and while other universities have been forced to cut their programs, ISU has fortunately not been forced to follow suit.
“Work-study programs allow students to explore possible career opportunities, gain work experience and improve marketable skills, meet a new set of contacts who may eventually become valuable references for future employment, reduce loan indebtedness, and participate in the ‘working your way through school’ concept,” she said.
Jana Albrecht, Director of Financial Aid, agreed that there are many benefits to having a work-study program, either federal or non-federal, at a college campus.
“Work-study and all student employment is very big. Studies have shown that students involved manage their time better and receive better grades,” she explained.
“Students who work over the school year typically then work over the summer. This helps them pay for books and helps them with loans in the future,” Albrecht added.
Cornell continued to explain that unlike other colleges, ISU has been allotted the same amount of federal work-study dollars with no reduction in the upcoming year.
While this is good news for ISU, students still need to be eligible to even apply for a federal work-study program.
“We are allotted federal work-study funds from the Department of Education. We allow students to be eligible for the federal work-study program based on their results of filing the FAFSA,” Cornell said.
“Each department on campus then has to decide their own hiring needs. They can employ federal work-study students and only one-third of the students’ wages would come out of their departmental budget. Or, if they hire regular, non-federal work-study students their departmental budget pays the wages in full,” she added. ISU’s Financial Aid office holds a part time job fair each year where both on and off campus employers are invited in order to fulfill their hiring needs. Cornell and Albrecht both explained that this fall will be no exception.
“We are planning on holding the job fair on Wed. September 8 in the Brown Ballroom in the Bone Student Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. I think there will be a gradual rise in students who need to work while attending school, and the job fair always helps,” Cornell said.