Students deprived of Federal Work Study

Students who received Federal Work Study in previous years, but have been denied this semester, are puzzled by the change, but the Financial Aid Office said the available funds have not decreased.

Senior Dan Ison received FWS to work in Sodexo during his first year and to work as a hall monitor in Workman Hall during his sophomore and junior years.  Because he did not receive FWS this year, he is no longer eligible for this position.

“I don’t even know (if I’m on a waiting list),” Ison said. “I just gave up on it.”

Sophomore Kaitlyn Drasher, currently on a waiting list to receive FWS, was the manager of the field hockey team and on the stat crew for men’s and women’s basketball during her first year of college. Positions in the athletics department require FWS.

“I’m taping (the field hockey games) when I have time, but since I’m not getting paid I can’t completely commit to it,” Drasher said.

“I hope I have (work study) in time for basketball,” she said.

According to Eastern’s Web site, FWS is “designed to give part-time employment to students to help meet the cost of their attendance.”

FWS is not being distributed any differently this semester than before, said Lisa Holland, associate director of financial aid.

“No one’s being cut from work study,” Holland said. “If anything, we’ve awarded it to more students this year than last.”

According to Andrea Ruth, student employment coordinator and financial aid technician, each college or university receives a specific amount of FWS funds every year. 

“It’s never enough to award to all students qualified for it,” Ruth said.  For this reason, students like Ison or Drasher may not receive approval for work study.

Ison, who qualifies for work study but did not receive it, does not understand why he was excluded: “How do you have a single parent paying for you to go to college and not get work study?”

Holland and Ruth gave two basic reasons that upperclassmen students may not receive work study.

If the salary of a student’s parent fluctuates, it could affect the student’s eligibility to receive work study, Ruth said. 

Holland emphasized the importance of timeliness. “Returning students might not get it because they don’t file FAFSA by the priority deadline (April 1),” Holland said. “Those people will not get work study.”

According to Drasher, she filed her FAFSA “way before April 1.

“I’m an organized person,” she said.  Ison also filed his paperwork by the deadline.

Drasher often stops by the financial aid office to check her status on the waiting list.  She requested to be added to the waiting list in July, being placed at number 31.  Her position has remained at 21 for the past few weeks, she said. 

If students decide not to use their work study money, or if they drop out of the program, the work study can be given to other eligible students.  In reference to awarding FWS to students on the waiting list, Holland said, “We do if we can, but it doesn’t always happen.”

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