Work study woes

Ferris has approved an allotment to cover initial reduced work study funds

Reduced work study allotment for the 2019-20 academic year left many students and employers without beneficial financial assistance but Ferris is now offering additional aid.

According to Ferris Student Employment and Financial Aid Advisor John Randle the amount awarded was reduced due to budgetary issues. The university, for many years, had funded both an institutional work study program and matched a portion of what the federal government gives Ferris for Federal Work Study.

This year, after they reviewed their available funds, the portion Ferris spends on matching the Federal Work Study ended up not being included in the initial model. In total, it amounted to $240,000 based on 25% of the 2019-20 Federal Work Study allocation.

This reduced funding not only affects students, but it affects university departments that rely on those students. Ferris President David Eisler approved a one-time allotment to cover the 2019-20 year, so the Financial Aid Office will begin re-evaluating students’ financial aid awards and awarding the additional work study.

The eligible recipients will be determined based on the order their financial aid requirements were met.

It is anticipated that this will help restore funding to the previous levels. Because the allotment is one time only, it is unknown if this will be able to continue in the coming years.

One university department that is affected is the Racquet and Fitness Center. Facility Manager Amy Nestle said that with the current work study budget, departments like hers and others aren’t able to offer as many job opportunities for students who use work study.

In years past, there have been nearly ten applicants for positions per semester, but only three were submitted this semester. Due to the work study reduction, Nestle has had to cut operational hours, balance the budget and plan ahead what tasks the students are given.

Some students who were denied work study are still able to work, even without the work study. Nestle said that when she hires, she bases her decisions on work performance but the ones who are the most impacted by the reduction of work study are the students.

Ferris elementary education senior Anna Palaske is a student who has been affected. Palaske said that in the 2018-19 year, as well as the summer 2019 semester, she had been awarded work study. But for the 2019-20 year, she was denied. She has friends who in years past had work study awarded, but did not receive it this year.

The reduction has made it harder for students like herself to find jobs. She was able to keep her two jobs from last year, but had reduced hours at one job. Palaske said that if Ferris is going to reduce work study, the jobs that are offered shouldn’t have to be work study and if there is less work study, there should be more department flexibility for non-work study students.