Morgan State University’s work study students faced some financial changes this semester, which led to increased speculation of budget cuts within the work study program.
Federal work study is a federal program at Morgan State that was established to assist in finding job placement for undergraduate students who may qualify for part-time, on and off-campus jobs. Student eligibility is based on regulations and confidential information regarding the student’s financial status.
“Our work study award has not been decreased nor has it been increased. The same amount that the Department of Education has been giving us to manage our work study program, we’ve gotten that same amount since I’ve been in this position,” said assistant financial aid director and work study supervisor, Loretta Drummond, who denies rumors in regards to work study budget cuts.
According to Drummond, the conflict lies within Morgan State’s constant growing campus, as well as the new departments that were added into the work study program for the academic school year. It is no secret that Morgan State experienced a rapid increase in not only incoming freshmen but transfer students this fall.
“We have nearly 1,200 new freshmen,” said Morgan State president, David Wilson. With such a significant increase in the student body students weren’t able to work the same amount of hours they were accustomed to.
Federal work study students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week for each academic school year, because of the new departments put into place department budgets had to be reduced in order for every student to be able to work.
“There were at least two new departments that were added to about 80 departments that are already getting federal work study money,” said Drummond who claims this played a significant role in the reduction of available hours for students hired to work.
The increase of Maryland’s minimum wage from $8.25 to $9.25 was also a driving factor in the limitation of available student hours. When the minimum wage increased the number of weeks a student could work stayed the same and therefore, the hours for a students to work decreased too.
“The calculation is usually number of hours times the rate of pay times the number in a week, that gives a department the amount of money they can spend out of their budget for each student,” Drummond explained.
With such tight budgets department employees must now work harder to ensure that they are not going over the budgets assigned to them, which has happened in the past. according to Drummond. “We’re finding that there is no wiggle room, we need everybody to stick to whatever budgets they are assigned”.
Students have been advised to find outside employment to make up for any financial loss due to budget alterations.