There’s no denying that college – especially in a city – is a time when students are generally strapped for cash.
That’s why Temple’s work-study program tries to provide students with enough funds to eat and occasionally even go out.
Supplying millions of dollars each year to students’ financial aid accounts, work-study gives an allowance each semester to in-state students based on their Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency applications. With a work-study job, students can work either on or off campus and collect their allowances bi-weekly, based on the number of hours that they work.
“Since things have changed a little since last year, Student Financial Services posts jobs on the Web site mostly for off-campus employers,” said Tara Robinette, assistant director of Temple’s Student Financial Services. “They’re mostly community service jobs.”
Although students can obtain on-campus work-study jobs, these jobs are more in the hands of university departments looking to do the hiring rather than SFS. Off-campus work-study employers, however, look to SFS for bringing students eligible to work the jobs they have to offer.
“We have about 60 off-campus employers,” Robinette said. “Some include the [Philadelphia] Free Library, the Franklin Institute, Smith Playhouse and the Academy of Natural Sciences. We also have a lot of law students that work with Community Legal Services.”
Though there are so many opportunities for students to participate in work-study, many aren’t even familiar with the term.
“What’s work-study?” asked Greg Maffucci, a sophomore psychology major. “I don’t know if I’m eligible.”
Students often don’t know that their work-study eligibility is listed in their financial aid statement on OWLnet, or that they have to physically apply online to be hired.
“I’m definitely interested. It really would be nice to have a job and make some money while I’m in school,” Maffucci said.
In the 2007-2008 school year, SFS spent approximately $3 million of the $10.9 million allotted for the work-study program.
Students that have work-study jobs can appreciate them more than some would a regular part-time job because of their flexibility of work hours.
“These jobs can accommodate most students’ schedules,” Robinette said. “That’s what’s good about them. If you could only work for two hours on Tuesday, that’s not a problem.”
For students who are unfamiliar with the process of applying for work-study jobs, it can be overwhelming and even discouraging. It is important that they check the student jobs Web site frequently for new listings.
“They had everything listed, but it’s a little annoying having to fill out the application and stuff,” senior journalism major Amber Sizemore said. “That’s probably the reason why I haven’t gotten a work-study job yet, because it does take time to do.”
Those that already have work-study jobs find that it becomes more of a routine and normal obligation than an inconvenience.
“At work, I’m busy almost all the time,” said Eric Rolon, a senior Spanish major.
“A lot of people that work here pay the bills through systems that they use here. I have to go back through them and make sure that they paid them right,” said Rolon, who is a student worker in the accounts payable department.
Depending on how much a student follows up after the application process, it could be very simple to end up with a job.
“When I got to school, I tried to apply online for work-study jobs, but it wasn’t really working for me,” Rolon said. “So I went to the work-study office, and they referred me to this job, because they knew it had an opening and that same day they hired me.”
As long as a student is determined and interested enough to have a work-study job, it’s not a far-fetched vision. The most important thing to know is how to follow up with a potential employer. Many students apply for work-study jobs every day and departments can’t accommodate everyone or respond to each online application.
While many students may be discouraged by the prospect of taking on a job in addition to a busy class schedule, Robinette said most are pleased with the decision to do so.
“Some students are concerned about taking on a job that may interfere with their studies,” Robinette said. “But students like them because they accommodate their schedules.”
Carlene Majorino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.