Students lose work-study funds to snowstorm and COVID-19 restrictions

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Photo by Helen Maier

Charlotte Lannon doesn’t rely on her work-study salary to pay her bills, but she knows many who do. 

“My friend (who would prefer to be unnamed)  lives off-campus and she has to pay for gas and groceries. She uses her work-study money to do that. I was talking to her the other day and she said she has been eating really frugally and she wasn’t able to come to her shift the other day because she wasn’t able to put gas in her car. It put things into perspective,” she said. 

Charlotte, as well as her friend, work in the Cap Bar, a position often funded by federal work-study dollars. For the past two weeks, due to COVID-19 restrictions after the recent outbreak on-campus and later due to the severe weather, neither of them have been able to work. 

Lannon herself, a sophomore economics and philosophy major, relies on her work-study money for spending cash in order to avoid dipping into her savings. 

“I rely on my work study for spending money because I try to save the majority of my money to pay off loans. The way my budget works is all the money I make from work-study is my spending money. Otherwise, I basically don’t have any money to spend and I have to dip into my savings, which is hard because I pay for all my own school,” she said. 

Lannon believes that the University of Dallas owes it to its students to create a plan of action to reimburse hours lost due to circumstances out of the student-workers’ control.

“If they are going to take away our hours they do need to find another way to pay us because it is government money and our financial aid,” she said. “This is part of the money we agreed to come here for and I know people who rely on it very heavily. It’s something that they need to be paying more attention to. For me, it’s not a big deal, but at the same time it could be a big deal for someone else and that’s what they need to take into account.”

Zanteria Rey, UD Human Resources Coordinator, declined to comment upon any future measures the office might take in regards to work-study hours lost.

Many students recall that, under similar circumstances following campus shutdown this past spring, their work-study amounts were simply paid in full.

“I had work study last year and I was a student assistant at the information center. I received around $900 after we got sent home so I could get the total amount of work-study money awarded to me,” said Anna Walters, a sophomore business and Spanish major.

Some work-study managers appear to have privately followed a similar suite. Hannah Wilmes, who holds a work-study position at the athletic department taking photos and keeping score at athletic events, says that “I was scheduled for games over the break [week of February 14-20] and my manager Nathan [Yacovissi] let me log those hours even though they were snowed out … It’s kind of like why not, it’s our work-study money so it would make sense for us to be able to get those hours back.” 

When recalling the difficulties her friend is facing in regards to her hours being cut, Lannon said, “It put things in perspective. I feel like my problems are much smaller [than hers]. It makes you think, it’s government money so they shouldn’t be frugal with it.”

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