UVM Trustees discuss work study funding cuts and job challenges on campus

Students who were denied work study this semester may have a brighter future to look forward to next year. The Budget, Finance and Investment Committee addressed the Board of Trustees to discuss the recent cuts in work study and its effects on the student job market on Feb. 4. “We know that there are many, many students who would like to work,” Vice President for Enrollment Management Chris Lucier said. “And frankly, we are not doing the best job we can do to enhance the on-campus employment opportunities or facilitate the students’ linkage to those opportunities.” As students absorb more and more debt to attend UVM, they are extremely limited in their options to begin paying off their debt while attending school, Board of Trustees Secretary Bill Botzow said. “We have federal work study, but there is a limited funding amount that is tied to federal regulations,” Lucier said. “And as students see their federal work study grants cut year after year, the stress of paying off their student loans becomes a reality.” Some students have said that the work-study cuts have made finding a job while still taking classes very difficult. “I had work study last year and it was great,” sophomore Andrew Cialek said. “But when I looked at my aid package for this year and saw it was gone, I had no idea how I was going to get a job.” Cialek said he was concerned with joining the growing number of students who have been scrambling to find jobs around campus without work study. There are jobs available but there is not a well-placed system to inform students about open positions, Director of Student Financial Services Marie Johnson said. “It’s an opportunity to use money that might already be spent in departments on temporary help and direct it more toward the student,” Johnson said. “Using those resources, we can not only accomplish our workload issues here on campus, but also be putting money in the pockets of students and giving them a valuable experience.” Some students said they are forced to look for off-campus jobs because the University cannot connect them to on-campus opportunities.   “I’m staying hopeful,” Cialek said. “If I can’t find something on campus, then there’s always Craigslist.”