Ending distinction between work study and campus jobs
JOSUE COY DICK
For decades, Bethel has qualified for and received federal dollars through a federal work study program that provides financial aid to eligible students through campus jobs.
Megan Kershner, director of Career & Leadership Development, shared that last year 40% of students held at least one job on campus, most of them working two jobs. 65% of those students were eligible for federal work study dollars.
Clark Oswald, director of financial aid elaborated on the federal work study program.
“In order to receive federal funding for work study positions, we have to meet certain criteria. For example, so many of our campus jobs go towards community service… we also have to have a reading tutor,” Oswald said.
Several factors go into student eligibility for federal work study dollars, including FAFSA EFC (expected family contribution) and the amount of financial aid a student is receiving, including any Bethel or outside scholarships.
“I’ve had students in the past tell me, ‘well my FAFSA says I can have a job’; but if they are getting a certain amount of aid, it can bump you out of federal work study eligibility for that job,” Oswald said.
Up until this year, Bethel College has had a few campus student worker positions that were available only through federal work study funding. For the anonymity of the relevant departments and students, the specific number is unavailable. Oswald commented on these different opportunities on campus.
“Federal work study eligible students would be eligible for both the federal work college positions and college funded work study opportunities,” Oswald said.
Kershner explained that this year that changed, and now any student is eligible for all jobs.
“This year all positions will be advertised to all students regardless of their federal work study eligibility,” said Kershner.
On the budget side, last year departments had to allocate some money from their own budgets to pay for student workers who weren’t eligible to receive federal work study funding.
Kershner explained that this year, Bethel continues to receive federal work study funding, but the budget for campus jobs is put under an overall campus employment budget. Within this collective pool, one part is federal dollars, the other institutional dollars. Students, however, don’t see a difference when applying for a campus job.
The dollar amount in the collective pools is calculated by the number of FAFSA eligible students on campus, and the campus demand for student labor.
“All the departments submit a request, a student labor request. How many students they need working, how many hours per week,” said Kershner.
While details are unknown, Bethel’s becoming a work college will not affect federal work college jobs nor funds. The federal work college program will simply be an additional means through which the college can provide additional financial aid to students.