As stimulus funds for federal work study programs expire, Kansas University students likely will face a tougher on-campus job market next year.
KU will lose about 25 percent of its available federal work study funds for the upcoming school year, causing a likely drop-off in the number of on-campus jobs for students.
Michael Ludwick, a Lawrence senior, is holding down a work-study funded job in the KU Card Center over the summer, helping to create new KU identification cards for the hordes of KU freshmen undergoing orientation.
Having an on-campus job makes a big difference in his life, Ludwick said, especially when it comes to scheduling.
“I definitely think it’s important to have students find these kinds of jobs,” Ludwick said. “Sometimes it’s hard to find a job that actually fits my schedule. Here, I work between classes during the school year.”
The loss of some federal funding represents a return to a more normal situation for KU’s work study program, said Todd Cohen, a university spokesman.
In 2008-09, KU received $1.26 million in federal work study funds before adding stimulus dollars to take the totals to $1.63 million in 2009-10. This year, the funds will drop back down to around $1.2 million after the stimulus funds expire.
Federal work study funds pays the entirety or a large majority of a student worker’s salary — often between 60 and 80 percent. Students are responsible for finding their own jobs, though many positions on campus are advertised as work-study only.
Students must qualify financially to receive aid, and meet satisfactory academic progress standards to receive federal assistance.
“Basically, it makes it possible for there to be more jobs than there otherwise would be, and it helps students who most need jobs get jobs,” Cohen said.
In 2008-09, the work study program funded 514 jobs. That figure rose to 576 the next year. This year, the number of work study funded positions will likely fall to a similar level in 2008, Cohen said.
The hit to the availability of on-campus jobs comes at a time for KU when the number of jobs are already falling due to other factors, like KU’s recent budget cuts.
Even with the stimulus-boosted work study funding, KU’s number of student campus jobs fell by 38 jobs from 2008-09 to 2009-10, to 3,711.
Though individual departments could choose to continue to offer the positions that won’t be covered by work study funds by fully funding them out of their own budgets, it’s reasonable to assume that at least some positions will disappear.
For students like Ludwick and fellow KU Card Center employee Leslie Hall, that will mean an even more difficult job search.
“It would be a lot crazier,” if she didn’t have an on-campus job, said Hall, a Paola senior. “Convenience is definitely the biggest factor.”