Work study overlooks qualified students

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With the rising cost of college tuition, many students rely on Financial Aid and money saved up by working to pay for their education.

The work study program allows students to earn money through Financial Aid by working at a part-time job. While work study has benefits for our college, it subsequently makes it more challenging for students who are ineligible for the program to find on-campus jobs.

Work study alleviates some financial woes for both students and faculty. Government funded work study programs allow departments that may otherwise not have the budget for regular payroll to hire student workers.

It can also help students pay tuition or cover living costs while attending school.
With this year’s 5.5 percent tuition increase and the current recession, more students need jobs in order to afford college than ever. However, not all qualify for work study.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, each university has to apply yearly to be able to award students work study.

The amount of money the university gets is based on the funding level and amount of student need the previous year. With limited funds available, not all students with financial need receive work study.

Even though they might not qualify for work study, many students still need or want to work while attending school. With the recent tuition increase and the current recession, a larger number of students are having difficulties paying for college.

In a small town like Whitewater, it can be difficult for students to find work. With college students and other citizens all seeking employment, job openings in town are hard to come by. Many students commute to nearby cities to work, but for those who don’t have vehicles, this isn’t an option.

Working on campus is the only choice for these students. For many on-campus jobs, students who don’t receive work study are often bypassed in the hiring process. Students with work study are highly sought after because the government pays their wages instead of the department they work for.

It sometimes seems like many on-campus jobs value work study over qualifications when hiring for a position.

The first question often asked on applications or at interviews for jobs on campus tends to be, “Do you have work study?” Even if a student is perfectly qualified for a particular job, they may be overlooked in favor of a student who has work study.

While we think the work study program has its benefits, it makes it harder for students who might have higher qualifications to find on-campus jobs.
Departments that utilize student workers and have the budget to pay non-work study students could make efforts to balance the importance of a student’s job qualifications with the work study factor.

Different help desk positions on campus make sure student employees have necessary computer skills, even if it means hiring a regular payroll student instead of one with work study.

More departments on campus should follow this example, especially when hiring for a skilled position. Hiring a work study student over a student with the necessary skills is unfair.

With enrollment and tuition going up, competition for jobs both on and off campus is fierce.

Although the work study program benefits many students on our campus, it also makes it tougher for those who don’t have work study to obtain jobs on campus.
A lot could be done to assist all students in finding work, and UW-Whitewater should take steps to ensure our campus has equal opportunities for everyone.