Federal work-study funds shrinking

From the Register-Mail:

Despite a cut in federally funded work-study dollars at colleges and universities across the country, Knox County’s higher education facilities aren’t worried their programs will suffer.

But the poor economy is still affecting students’ educational options.

The Federal Work-Study Program provides part-time employment to eligible students while they are enrolled in school, allowing those students to earn money. It is considered a self-help program, as opposed to gift programs like scholarships.

The number of work-study jobs will drop by more than 160,000 positions across the country in the upcoming academic year, according to U.S. News and World Report.

But that drop was expected, after American Investment and Recovery Act funds injected an additional $200 million during 2009. The funds for the upcoming school year are back to average levels, said Ann Brill, Knox College’s director of financial aid.

“Last year we actually received a little bit more in federal work study funding,” she said. “But last year was an exception because of that act (ARRA) but I would say we get a little bit more each year, but not significant… it’s hard to compare.”

Brill said Knox typically covers most of the work-study program anyway. In the 2008-09 school year, the school received about $200,000 from the federal government for the program, but kicked in close to $700,000 to pay its student workers. Most of those student workers are work-study participants or part of the campus employment program, similar to work-study but for international students with financial need.