The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Students benefit from work-study

Sitting at a receptionist’s desk in the Student ActivitiesCenter, Elsa Monge put down her textbook as soon as the phone rang.A student caller needed information regarding an application for astudent activity. “The application is due on the first of themonth,” Monge told the caller.

Monge, a sophomore, answers phones and helps new students becomeacquainted with the university. The 13-hour-a-week job pays herabout $2,500 a year. “I have actually worked a deal with myparents. They take care of any left over tuition as long as theydon’t have to send me any money for food ornecessities,” said Monge, a double major in business andLatin American studies.

Monge is among thousands of other American college studentsearning essential spending money through the Federal Work-StudyProgram. For students the money is imperative to their education.For university administrators the program makes eminent businesssense.

“The benefit to the hiring department is clear: Work-studystudents are simply less expensive to employ,” said MaryBeard, assistant director of student employment. “Departmentstypically try to hire Federal Work-Study-eligible students firstbecause of the budgetary savings.”

The number of students working on campus last spring totaled2,128. Of those students, up to 500 participated in the FederalWork Study Program, which provides money to colleges anduniversities to hire students who meet government financialguidelines.

Students receive work-study awards on a year-to-year basis aspart of their financial aid packages. In many cases, SMUdoesn’t have enough money to employ students in need.

“Every year we use every cent that the government allotsto us,” said Beard. “Last year we applied for anincrease in funding. We now receive $2,500 awards, as opposed tothe $2,000 awards last year.”

SMU’s lack of funds has created a disparity in the typesof jobs available to work-study students. Each department has adifferent budget. If a student wants to work more hours to earnmore money, they are forced to get a second job.

While students like Monge enjoy their jobs because they areconvenient and pay relatively well, other students are not asenthusiastic about their experience with work-study.

Sophomore Jennifer McDowell works in the Payroll Departmentfiling 12 hours a week.

“My job now is very boring, and I have absolutely no timeto work on my homework,” McDowell said. “It hasdefinitely made my life much more stressful, but I need the moneyfor my books, food and other living expenses.”

Many students would gladly take McDowell’s job but are noteligible for work-study. Students who receive money from othersources, such as loans, may exceed the income required to qualifyfor work-study.

A student must meet a certain level of need, determined byfilling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) anda College Scholarship Service/PROFILE. If a student does not meetthe federal requirements, then Federal Work Study is reduced tomake room for loans, grants and scholarships.

Another concern for work-study students involves the lack ofavailable jobs. The number of students who want to work hasincreased in the last few of years. Almost 74 percent of collegestudents nationwide work during the academic year, according toSMU’s Office of Student Employment.

More to Discover