Federal Work Study program to continue for rest of semester with funding from next year’s budget

Written By Erin Yudt, Editor-Elect

The Federal Work Study (FWS) program is set to continue until April 22 with the reallocation of a “limited portion of funds from the upcoming academic year,” according to an email sent to work study students last Friday from Ashley Bruder, the human resources coordinator at Point Park. The program was previously set to end on April 8 due to budgetary limitations.


Students are still limited to five hours per week and prohibited from working during finals week, which is April 23 through April 28. 


“With the FWS budget being increased for 2023-34, after careful review, we are confident that we can borrow and apply this partial funding to the 2022-23 academic year with no effect on work study funding levels for next year,” Bruder wrote in the email.


Bruder said that the university manages FWS according to the Department of Education regulations and is “required to ensure spending allocations are managed for all years,” in a statement written to The Globe.


“The University is diligent in managing the actual FWS funds spent to the annual budgeted amount,” Bruder said in the same statement to The Globe. “As a result, we are confident that allocating a small percentage of the 2023-24 budget to fund the remainder of this academic year will have a nominal effect on budget usage for the next academic year.”


According to Bruder, the hourly rate for FWS next year will be 12 dollars, and students will be able to work eight to 10 hours per week, depending on the budget and their financial need. 


Nanina Grund, a senior psychology major and FWS student at the Student Activities Involvement and Leadership (SAIL) office, was surprised when the email was sent out, as the SAIL office was given some funding to continue their services.


“Thankfully prior to the email sent out about work study being fixed, the business office granted our department to use their own budget to keep us work studies on hire,” Gund said. “It took weeks to hear back from them about it… we were given more hours for the week after the 8th, then working back to five hours during finals week. That’s through our own office in comparison to working only five hours and no work during finals that HR allowed us.”


Grund tried to find work elsewhere when the first announcement was made about FWS ending early but did not have luck as “no one was going to hire someone for such a short amount of time.” She has been working in the FWS program since she was a freshman and has “never seen something like this before,” but is not too worried about the FWS program’s future because she is graduating this semester. 


“I would be a bit worried [about funding taken from next year’s budget]; everything at Point Park funding wise is heavily dependent upon enrollment,” Grund said.  “I am graduating, and I’ve seen a few things in my time here that haven’t happened in so many years, like a pandemic, new presidents, etc.”


Grund feels that there would have been “a lot of unhappy students” if FWS was to end on April 8. 


“I can only speak for myself but if some work studies ended on the 8th, and if my office wasn’t allowed to use their department’s funds, that would be a lot of unhappy current students who are going to suffer because of the school’s mismanagement,” Grund said. “I am not saying that it was just HR and totally isn’t directed at Ashley [Bruder], but I think that the school truly must realize the priorities of the student, making sure offices are properly staffed and maintained for students to have an enjoyable time here.”


Brooke Gilman, a sophomore forensic science major and FWS student in the library, was happy to get the email but is worried about next year as well.


“I was happy for it to continue as it helps me with rent yet confused on what this will mean for the 2023-2024 school year,” Gilman said. “I’m not sure how I feel as I’d rather be able to work all my hours next year than risk the same thing happening again as this year.”


Gilman said she would have rather had the program stay being done than take from next year’s budget. 


“I am very worried about the future as they are taking from the budget already,” Gilman said. “I would rather it have stayed being done and for them to fix the budget for 2023-2024 to make sure everyone can work the full year and get the money they deserve.”


Summer state work study opportunities are available for the summer, which are funded through Pennsylvania rather than the federal government. The summer state work study program allows departments to hire summer student workers and have 50% of wages reimbursed by the state of PA, according to Bruder. This program was offered last summer as well.


Students must be a permanent Pennsylvania resident, be enrolled at least half-time at the university and be an undergraduate student who is eligible for the PA State Grant Program in order to work through the summer state program.