Two words some students hate with a fervor, work-study, have merged to offer something many students can’t get enough of. The money-paying, study-time-saving program awarded to eligible students has jobs dispersed throughout Philadelphia and as near as your dorm’s computer lab.
However, the arrival of the largest freshman class in 17 years, as noted by Timm Rinehart, associate vice president of Enrollment Management in a Temple Times article, has given way to a third less of what is often termed as “easy money.”
The federally funded program aimed in assisting students financially has curtailed its financial aid per student to a maximum earning of $500 each semester, down from last spring’s $750.
Mentha Strothers, assistant director of Student Financial Services, attributes the rollback to an influx of new students and an inadequate supply in aid.
“We got so many students, that we had to spread it around,” Strothers said.
She said work-study students can earn more than $500 if their employer can get the university to pay the entire wage rather than the 25 percent it pays throughout the student’s work-study tenure.
The amount of federal work-study aid does not alter a job’s specific pay rate, but does help improve students’ chances of landing a position by creating new jobs to accommodate students, Strothers said.
“We usually have more positions than those willing to take [advantage of] work-study,” Strothers said.
The question has shifted from finding a job to finding one suitable to your needs, Strothers said. There are several jobs strongly contested every semester, and sophomore Adrian Sierkowski has one of them.
Sierkowski, 22, has held a lab position at Paley Library since applying for it after his summer orientation freshman year.
When he is not busy surfing the Web or cramming for his next test, some of his responsibilities include assisting and monitoring students, visiting “the 10th level of hell” otherwise known as the print filing station, filing print-jobs and troubleshooting computer problems.
“It used to be like that, but since we changed over systems, the workload has been tougher,” said Sierkowski, who earns $6 an hour. “Still, this job is good and it allows us to do some of our [schoolwork].”
Instead of using work time for personal matters, Strothers said that time should be put toward gaining valuable experience.
“I don’t want the person who’s doing work-study to be paid $5 an hour to be doing their schoolwork,” Strothers said. “They should be working and mostly gaining experience.”
Strothers said many companies call her to reference a student’s work-study job performance.
Ashley Browning, a 22-year-old senior, is skeptical of how much experience one can gain through a desk job.
“The work-study jobs [Temple] offers aren’t really focused on majors. Most of them are clerical jobs, like the one I had last year,” Browning, a journalism major, said. “I don’t see how that’s going to help me.”
The work-study Web site offers potential skill-building jobs such as an events associate position at The Enterprise Center in West Philadelphia and a technology consultant job in Ritter Hall on Main Campus.
Certain jobs can be a rewarding experience, like the math, science and English tutors who refine their teaching skills and freshen up on foundational lessons while making $10 an hour.
IBC staffer, Mallory Reddy, 19, said the money, at $5.75 an hour, and flexibility are key.
“You don’t have to work as many hours and you’re able to easily pick your hours because they work right around your classes,” the pre-pharmacy major said. “It’s short hours. Mine is only two hours long.”
Week-long training in CPR and gym equipment is required and provided by the IBC, Reddy said.
Students interested in a work-study position are encouraged to visit Student Financial Services’ work-study job bank at https://mdev.temple.edu/sfs/.
After contacting an employer, students can visit the ground floor of Conwell Hall to fill out the necessary paperwork.
Steve Wood can be reached at Jacksonb@temple.edu.