Students feel cuts in work study

BY Maggie Jackson



Cuts to the federal work-study program are impacting UDM students.

This school year, the university saw its work-study funds fall to $940,000, said financial aid associate director Caren Bendes.

“Last year we had close to $1 million in an allowance given through the federal government,” said Bendes. “We lost money this year through the cuts and with less money we have to limit the number of students who work.”

Student Kati Durham, a first-year business major, encountered the problem with her work-study.

“From my work-study I can make $2,500 a year,” said Durham. “I started to get very low on the number of hours I could work at my work-study job first semester so I had to ask financial aid to spread my full $2,500 between both semesters instead of splitting it $1,250 and $1,250 for each.”

When she realized she would run out of hours this semester, she asked her supervisor if they could use her as a non-work-study employee.

“They told me they don’t have enough in their budget to have any more non-work-study because that comes from the university whereas work-study is from the (federal) government,” she said.

According to Bendes, last year 1,700 UDM students were awarded work-study but just under 500 of them used it.

She said this year about 450 students are participating.

The hike in minimum wage has also affected work-study.

“The minimum wage used to be $7.40 and it increased to $8.15 an hour,” said Bendes. “Students on work-study can only work so many hours, so when the wage went up, the hours went down.”

Durham said that she has to watch the number of hours she works in her department so that she does not go over.

“I had to search for a non-work-study job on campus, which is obviously very hard to find because not many departments have enough in their budget for a lot of non-work-study,” Durham said.

But she did locate one, and she said that the Financial Aid office helped her out a lot during this process.

The recent federal cuts may not be the last.

“I fully anticipate cuts in the 2015-2016 school year,” said Bendes. “There will be less funds available than this year for sure.”

Students eligible for work-study must fill out financial aid forms. Bendes suggests interested students do so early.