Work study program needs help

work study.jpeg
Illustration by Trevor Moore

The Financial Aid and Scholarship Office sucks when it comes to the work study program.

Seriously though, have you ever heard of the phrase “up shit creek without a paddle?”

Yeah, that creek would be the work study program and the paddles would be the necessary information I need to navigate my way through the program.

Oh, and that waterfall I’m careening toward? That’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

See, I’ve been in the situation before where I’ve called the financial aid office for weeks on end because I apparently didn’t file my work study income correctly on said application.

Luckily, I was finally able to get a hold of a supervisor of some sorts and figure out the whole mess so I wouldn’t lose my grant.

But, wait. There’s more.

This issue of misinformation (and overall lack of information in general) doesn’t happen only when it comes time to file for more financial aid.

Actually, students in the swirling vortex of the work study program aren’t even given paddles of information to begin with.

For example, when I was a freshman, both my parents and I asked for details about the program on multiple occasions. Every time I was told that I wouldn’t be able to touch my work study award until I got a work study job.

So, imagine my surprise when I learned later that I was still receiving my work study award as a loan while I wasn’t working.

Essentially, the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office’s lack of information on the work study program negatively affects the students it serves.

And honestly, it’s really sad that the office can’t even take five minutes to implement simple, yet effective, changes to the way that it runs the program.

For example, pamphlets outlining the program, details about how the money is distributed and where to file work study income on financial aid applications would be an excellent way for the office to distribute information about the program.

It already has pamphlets about loans and scholarships, so why doesn’t the work study program have one?

On top of that, the office could add more information about the program to the school’s webpage on work study. That way students who don’t have time to come into the office or can’t get a hold of a supervisor who knows what they’re talking about can have access to the information.

Oh, and speaking of supervisors, they should be making sure that all of the employees at the office know the ins and outs of the work study program, especially if they have no other means of relaying information to students.

If I come in with questions, I don’t want to have to keep calling or coming back because I was misinformed because of improper training.

Now wish me luck. I have to go figure out where to get paddles before I reach that waterfall.

Megan Mann can be reached at [email protected] or @meganisthemann on Twitter.