Student Affairs leaders divvy work-study

Units say work-study hour changes should not influence hiring

CODY COTTIER, Evergreen reporter

For the first time, the Division of Student Affairs decided to allocate work-study funding at the executive level, an adjustment to the process of distributing nearly $1 million in student employee wages.

Work-study, which funds hundreds of student jobs, comes from a combination of federal, state and WSU employer funds. Students eligible for work-study can receive between $1,000 and $4,000 per year. This funding is in addition to each department’s wage budget, allowing the university to employ more students overall.

Mollie Holt, area financial officer for Student Affairs, said the initial allocation of work-study funding comes from Student Financial Services and is based on how much each department used the year before. In the past, Holt said, the departments would collaborate to reallocate the money, if necessary, based on the number of students each department wanted to hire.

This year, with new Vice President of Student Affairs Mary Jo Gonzales and two incoming associated vice presidents, they decided to formalize the process. Holt said this gives them a better big-picture view of work-study funding in the division and helps them use it as efficiently as possible.

“The ultimate goal in all of this,” she said, “is to benefit the students and maximize the use of work-study.”

In the first reallocation by Division of Student Affairs leaders, four departments received cuts and 11 received increases, though Holt said the final allocations could change between now and the October 1 deadline.

The largest reduction by far is to Dining Services, which will receive nearly $30,000 less. Gary Coyle, director of Dining Services, said this will bring the service’s work-study more in line with the number of students it employs. Because some students leave their jobs early or transfer to other departments, he said dining doesn’t always spend its entire work-study budget.

“We’re just moving that number to be closer to what we are actually achieving,” Coyle said.

The next largest decrease is to the College Assistance Migrant Program, which will receive $15,000, roughly $10,000 less than last year. Holt said this is because the program can fund its employees through grants. Michael Heim, director of CAMP, could not be reached for comment.

Counseling and Psychological Services lost all of its work-study funding, which in 2017-2018 was $3,700. Holt said CAPS did not need a student worker. Dan Neighbors, outreach coordinator for the department, declined to comment for this article.

The CUB was initially set to receive $28,000 in the upcoming year, an increase of $8,000 over the previous year, but will now receive $20,000 again. CUB Director Sean Greene said this will not affect hiring.

As an auxiliary department, he said, it is not required to hire work-study students like some other departments. Rather, the department hires based only on qualification. He added that with a wage budget of nearly $500,000, the $8,000 difference is negligible.

The largest increases in work-study funding went to the Access Center and Access, Equity and Achievement, both of which roughly doubled from about $10,000 to about $20,000. Holt said Division of Student Affairs leaders thought it was important that these departments receive more funding. Six other departments received increases of roughly $1,000 to $5,000.

“We feel,” Holt said, “that the work we have students do is really valuable.”

The Office of Student Media, which houses The Daily Evergreen, was initially reported as receiving no work-study money for 2018-2019. However, Holt said this was due to an error in how the office entered its work-study authorization forms the previous year. She said the office will still receive funding in the upcoming year.