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Monday, September 24, 2018

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Work-study process causes students problems


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Taylar Roberts, left, Gladys Arteaga and Aleyda Pérez work at the University bookstore. | Leen Basharat/The Cougar

The work-study program has faced some scrutiny this past year for its extension process. Student Government Association CLASS senator David Kazanci brought the subject up at SGA’s July 8 meeting to gain ground on the issue and brainstorm possible solutions.

“If you get an extension on your work study, that goes towards the max (compensation) you can receive,” Kazanci said. “The issue happens when the paperwork is done (to receive the extension as) it can slow down the process for work study (students) to actually work. It takes away work time from them.”

The process a student has to go through to receive some sort of extension is simple, said Shari Corprew, assistant director of Scholarships, Services, Grants, Financial Aid and Donor Relations.

If a student is in need of more money, the student would correlate any concerns to their department. If there is a qualified justification for an extension the department then directs the written request to the Scholarships and Grants department, a sector of the Office of Financial Aid, which makes the decision.

Corprew said complications arise if a student requests more hours per week because work-study students are students first.

There are exceptions, such as a professor cancels class, and there is no conflict with courses. Overall, if a student requires more hours to meet their monetary demand, they must consult a higher power — a human resources representative, for example.

Even so, the extension took longer this past school year, according to Kazanci. This process typically can take one to two weeks, which makes a difference for students heavily dependent on the work study’s paychecks. To make matters more difficult — depending on when you apply to receive an extension — students have to reapply for positions they already work in.

Corprew was not aware of this issue, due to it not being a common issue or being a fairly new issue.

“When you get (an) extension you have to get rehired for the position, (wait for the) Student and Financial Aid office to approve that extension and  have Career Services post the job on their database,” she said. “This can probably take a (business) week. Potentially you can lose out (on the opportunity) of a full paycheck.”

Kazanci has yet to hear back from the Office of Career Services on why the program has experienced such trouble between filing for an extension and getting it. Kazanci said that whether there are not enough employees in HR able to review the applications this year remains to be known.

Incoming student Omar Abuzaher, a computer information systems freshman who will be working in Cougar Village 2, was left puzzled by this discrepancy.

“I would feel like that could be slightly unjust because I had already been promised a position for the semester,” Abuzaher said. “The purpose of one getting work-study is to earn money to provide for the expenses of the semester while being able to focus on classes.”

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