New Work-Study Policy Seeks to Create More Job Opportunities

At the start of the fall semester, USF’s Federal Work Study Employment department changed the work-study policy. Students can have multiple jobs but are no longer permitted to apply more than one job towards their work-study award.
According to the Assistant Director of Financial Aid and Student Employment, Kristina Chang, the new policy will provide more job opportunities for students in need of a work-study job. Chang said, “[The Financial Aid Office] wants to be able to open opportunities out rather than selecting a very small group of students who have more opportunity than the rest of the group.”
Before this fall, students awarded with aid were allowed to have as many work-study jobs as possible. After doing research with other universities like the University of San Diego and Cal State Monterey Bay, both who do not allow students more than one work-study job, Financial Aid/Student Employment services switched to the new policy. USF was granted less work-study funding from the federal government for this academic year, another factor which lead to the policy change, said Chang.
Sophomore Nursing major, Vince Castelle said, “The new policy does not limit me on getting my jobs since I’ve only held one job per year.” Castelle works as an attendant at the Koret Health and Recreation Center. “I do think that being a work-study student did help me on getting my job, since I’ve heard employers would rather hire a work-study student than nonwork-study [student].”
Departments prefer hiring work-study students due to the 70% wage subsidy provided by the federal government. Wages of non work-study students are completely covered by their respective departments. Aid is allotted to students who file FAFSA before the deadline and demonstrate financial need, said Chang. “It’s less money out of the school’s pocket and department funding.” Additionally, work-study students have priority during most hiring processes.
As an employee of the Student Employment offices, senior Biology major Cydrienne Llamas is on the receiving end of hearing objections towards the new policies. “I can see both sides of why I’d want to use federal work-study for a second job, but at the same time you have to be fair to those who still need to find jobs,” she said. “I think [the new policy] is a good thing. It allows more students to have jobs on campus.”
Prior to the new policy, Chang recalls receiving many students’ complaints about a shortage of job opportunities. “It’s unfair to them that they can’t find a job, yet we have students with multiple jobs and use federal funding. All students should have the opportunity to have a job…spread the wealth,” she said.
“The new policy is fair. If I could have two jobs, it would help out a lot with everything, but the [job] I have right now is very good and they pay very well, so I’m not really complaining,” said junior Adam Molina. Molina works as a Student Leadership and Engagement (SLE) Peer Advisor.
While some students are seemingly indifferent towards the change, Senior Lee Westrick contends that the new policy has its drawbacks. As a History department research assistant, Westrick’s hours vary between six and ten hours a week. “I think [the old policy] would’ve worked out for more students just because I understand people were bumping up on the 20 hour [per week] max but at the same time, there were people who weren’t—like me working ten hours a week,” said Westrick. “That’s not enough to pay rent.”
Although Chang reports that the new policy has opened up multiple job opportunities, Westrick’s biggest concern is job security. “Uncertainty is the biggest concern for students in my position,” she said. “We’re living in San Francisco and a lot of us are financially independent. No matter what you do, you’re going to cast people out. It’s a hard situation to be in, but for some of us, as selfish as it sounds, we got to pay bills. It’s a competition.”

2 thoughts on “New Work-Study Policy Seeks to Create More Job Opportunities”

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