Budget cuts hurting student workers

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    Work study jobs, like those at the gym, have had to cut back on hours. The gym is now closed during mid-morning when most students are in class.

    Upon arriving to campus this August, many student workers at the University of Dallas were surprised to find that their hours had been cut.

    UD has made many budget cuts this year as a result of financial difficulties, and these cuts have been felt across the campus.

    Many departments have been forced to trim the hours of their student workers or even eliminate positions.

    “A lot of the departments had to cut the hours they could give their students due to budget cuts, and so I couldn’t get the full amount of my work study with the Rome Office any more,” senior Teresa Gardea said. “I really loved working there, but I was only able to get two hours there, and the gym was able to give me more.”

    The Federal Work Study (FWS) program is a governmental grant that helps students finance a college education through part-time employment.

    According to the U.S. Department of Education website, “Using a statutory formula, the Department allocates funds based on the institution’s previous funding level and the aggregate need of eligible students in attendance in the prior year. In most cases, the school or the employer must pay up to a 50 percent share of a student’s wages under FWS.”

    However there is confusion as to what money is used to fund students with work study jobs.

    “I got a glimpse of budget cuts when I came back to ask for my hours at the Dean’s Office, and Mrs. [Eden] Garcia, [Sanford’s Administrative Assistant,] had mentioned they only had a certain budget,” Isabella Villanueva, a senior classics major, said. “But I thought I was allotted money from the government so why does it matter if you have a budget or not?”

    “The student worker budget is funded by two sources:  the federal government through the Federal Work Study Program and the University of Dallas which supports additional work study (aka “work opportunity”) on campus,” Taryn Anderson, the director of financial aid said in an email. “There are some jobs on campus that are limited to hiring a student with federal work study and other jobs that are set up to hire students without a work study financial aid award.”

    A student with federal work study may be granted a certain amount of money for the academic year. That student has the opportunity to earn the full amount of that money through employment, but the student may cut back on work hours and not receive the full award.

    The budget cuts taking place across the UD has impacted even the student workers in Rome.

    “The budget cuts have indeed been felt here in Rome,” Lucas Prebel, director of student affairs on the Rome campus, said in an e-mail.

    “I am happy to say however, that the student employee positions on the Rome campus are operating as best we can given the circumstances. Some hours have been trimmed down but this just gives students more time to spend in Rome.”

    Where cuts would be made was a departmental decision.

    Every department on campus receives funding for federal work study. It is at the discretion of the individual departments how to utilize that money.

    “The process for allocating funds was different this year which may mean some departments had to change the way they previously hired student workers,” Anderson said. “If a department received less money they may have decided to hire the same number of students but at fewer hours or they could have decided to keep the same shifts but then had to hire fewer students overall.”

    Not all students have had their hours shortened.

    Domingo Leos, a senior student worker in the post office is one of them.

    “I have heard from my superiors and supervisors that budget cuts would influence the number of new hires that we would be able to make,” Leos said. “As a senior, I do get that seniority aspect, so I’ve been able to work any number of hours that I wanted.”

    This year, the post office changed its hours. Previously Printing and Postal was open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. Beginning this year, it is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

    Other departments have changed their hours of operation as well.

    Mary Young, a sophomore student worker at the fitness center is feelings the difference in her work.

    “I think this year the gym shortened their hours in the middle of the day because of budget cuts,” Young said. “I suppose it’s a little harder to get more hours.”

    The university as a whole has been affected by budget cuts. Nearly every employee and student of UD has felt the financial struggles of the school in some way.

    The impact these cost cutting methods are having on student workers appears to be one more way the school is trying to make ends meet.

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