Obama budget plans to increase work-study jobs


Rebecca Howeth

Nutrition junior Eric Carrizales works at the Life Science Library as a work-study student. The number of work-study jobs in the U.S. may double because of President Obama’s new budget.

Sarah White

President Barack Obama’s new budget may double the number of work-study jobs in the U.S. and has caused excitement among UT officials, said Tom Melecki, director of Student Financial Services.

Melecki said 30 percent of UT work-study students’ salaries are provided by UT, while 70 percent is funded by the federal government. The amount of money given to the work-study program by the federal government has decreased over the past three years, said Melecki.

In 2009 the federal government gave $2,384,251 to the program, but the amount has been steadily reduced since then. Melecki said the federal government gave $1,885,934 to the program for the 2011-2012 school year and the Office of Student Financial Services hopes funding for the program will increase in the future, as indicated by Obama’s budget, released Feb. 13.

“Students are selected for work-study awards based on the federal government’s standard of financial neediness,” Melecki said.

He said UT officials attempt to give students grant money before offering work-study positions, but work-study allocations often help students limit the amount of loans they take out.

“Work-study is a terrific way to keep down the number of dollars a student borrows,” Melecki said.

Julianne Kasper, a work-study student and education sophomore, said she feels more connected to the campus community because of her work-study job at the Fine Arts Library.

“I’m the youngest person I know who works at the library,” Kasper said. “My co-workers know a lot about the UT campus, classes and professors and have given me a lot of useful advice.”

Kasper said that she would much rather have a work-study job than a job off-campus, because she felt her employer was particularly respectful of her obligations as a student. She said she thinks an off-campus employer might not appreciate her commitment to academics.

“If you have a test, they are usually really understanding,” Kasper said. “[My employers are] willing to work with my schedule. They also let me study and do homework at the front desk when I am not helping people in the library.”

Sarah Andrews, administrative assistant of the Hire-A-Longhorn Job Bank, said she works to connect work-study students with potential employers, on and off campus.

“There are about 300 jobs in the job bank, of which 60 are work-study jobs,” Andrews said.

Andrews said she works with students when there is a problem with their employment, but such situations rarely occur.

“Usually employers are very willing to hire work-study students,” she said. “The students themselves are very diligent and we hardly ever experience issues.”

Printed on Friday, February 24, 2012 as: Obama budget plans to increase work-study job opportunities