By Linnea Cavallo (Whetstone staff writer)
When sophomore Kayla Hodges came back to school this fall she was under the impression she was going to have a work-study job.
“I had a job last year but I didn’t get one this year,” she said. “My FAFSA still says I am eligible for work study but it didn’t show up on my award letter like it did last year.”
Many returning students this fall have been unable to get work-study this year, even though they had it last year.
“A student is not guaranteed work-study just because they had it last year,” Manager of Student Financial Planning Mike Hall said. “Things change from year to year, like the budget and a student’s eligibility.”
A problem that students had with not getting the job they had last year is not meeting the deadline to turn in their FAFSA information.
“They told me I should have put my FAFSA in by a deadline in February, but they never gave us that deadline,” Hodges said.
At a town hall meeting held Sept. 23, students expressed concerns the only people who were getting these work-study jobs are freshmen.
“They were trying to tell me that I couldn’t get a job this semester,” said sophomore Katherine Nettles. “They told me they were giving the majority of the work-study jobs to eligible freshmen.”
FAFSA determines whether a student is eligible for work-study, but it is up to Wesley to determine who gets the jobs. The school bases their decision on a first-come, first-serve basis and the enrollment for that year.
“The student should get their FAFSA in as early as possible,” Hall said.
Hall said that Wesley chooses fewer students for work-study jobs on campus so, for those that do have jobs, they can earn more money.
“There are lots of programs the student can pick from,” Hall said. “We try and spread the students out throughout the programs.”
A student who is awarded work-study is allotted $1,125 a semester. The student must work 150 hours a semester, or 10 hours a week.
“The student may work as many jobs they need to get those hours in to earn their full award,” Hall said.
During the town hall meeting, Nettles said if the students don’t have a job by October, then Wesley will not give them a job.
When students are awarded work-study, they receive a time sheet that acts as a pay-roll sheet. The student works and fills out this form every time he or she works. After the first two months working, the financial aid department goes over the forms to see who is working and getting their hours in and who is not. If a student does not get his papers in by October, the department takes him out of the department.
“If we don’t get all of the time sheets in by October, we see if we can free up some money for other students who will work,” said Chet Long, a financial aid associate.
When a student gets the position of Resident Assistant, they are automatically not eligible to get another work-study job. Many students said they thought this was a new rule.
“They have always been in place, some people have just slipped through the cracks,” Hall said.
Many of these rules are federal rules that have been in place since the program started, he said.
“I think what is new is the effort on the part of Mr. Hall, the Dean of Students and others to ensure a greater degree of fairness in the administration of all student work programs,” said Ron Reck, vice president for administration and finance. “There have been instances in the past where students were employed in multiple institutional programs at the expense of otherwise eligible students needing financial assistance.”