Increase in work-study pay rates – The Campus

Allegheny College students now have the opportunity to work fewer hours and earn more money as employed students.
An August 19 email from financial aid counselor Jade Allen of the Office of Student Employment announced changes to the pay rate structure, stating that “academic student pay rates will increase beginning in the semester fall 2022”.
The email further clarified the establishment of different rates of pay from $9 to $13 compared to previous rates between $6 and $8.
Vice President of Enrollment Ellen Johnson said the changes to the student pay rate came primarily from the college’s need to compete with Meadville businesses.
“Really, we’re overwhelmed by off-campus employers when it comes to attracting students,” Johnson said. “Students are looking at the benefits of higher pay and no work hour limits and choosing to work off campus instead.”
Johnson hopes that higher pay rates will be enough to compel students to find jobs on campus.
According to Johnson, the changes to the student pay rate are significant because there has never been such a drastic increase in the school’s history.
“We typically look at small increases of $0.25 or $0.50,” Johnson said. “This increase is significant and comes at a time when many people have complained that previous pay rates were too low.”
The last review of student pay rates was in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Johnson, the pandemic has had a huge impact on student attitudes toward on-campus employment.
As a result, Student Employment has stated that it is unable to successfully fill vacancies on campus and considers the increase in pay rate a step in the right direction.
Allen said the college also hopes to give students more time to explore different aspects of college life because of this change.
“Students no longer have to work as many hours to earn the $2,500 they received in work-study,” Allen said. “Since students are paid more, they will be required and allowed to work fewer hours.”
Allen clarified that depending on the rate of pay, students will have more restrictive time limits on the amount of work they are allowed to do each week.
Bonner program member and program intern Alexa Isaguirre Portillo, 24, hopes the pay rate will allow students to earn their full $2,500 in study-work more successfully.
“At times over the past two years, many of my peers and I felt that despite hard work, we were still struggling to earn enough at the end of the month,” Portillo said. “Bonner is a program that requires a lot of student engagement and contains a range of responsibilities, so I hope students will be compensated fairly.”
According to the Federal Work-Study Program, “In a normal year, your school must use at least 7% of its FWS stipend to employ students in community service jobs.”
As a result, the pay rate for Bonner students, who work in community service roles under the service-oriented program, has doubled from $6.45 to $13, the highest pay rate. Free.
Under the new system, Johnson said not all student jobs will be paid at the same rate.
“Each year, supervisors from different offices on campus review their staff records and determine the number of students they need,” Johnson said. “Similarly, based on the job description and skills required for the position, student employment and supervisors determine the rate of pay for a job.”
Students will have the opportunity to earn higher rates by repeatedly working in a role over time and at the discretion of their supervisor, according to Johnson.
Nahayan Minhas, 24, who works in the athletics and recreation department and is an international student, believes students are promised but don’t earn the full $2,500 in education aid.
“I think with the work limits and the heavy taxes on our salaries, we don’t earn as much as what’s ‘assigned’ to us in our financial aid programs,” Minhas said.
Johnson said Minhas’ claim has volume because, after tax, students cannot earn the full $2,500.
“Financial aid programs state that the student must earn the work-study, but I think it is also a good idea to include a statement telling students that they will be taxed on this part of the program and will not earn the full stated amount,” Johnson said.
Johnson added that both the college and the government contribute funds that facilitate the federal work-study program on campus.
“We don’t want to send the message that Allegheny isn’t being proactive and initiating more changes to student employment,” Johnson said. “Federal work-study is funded simultaneously by the school and the federal government, so we have to make decisions together.
Johnson hopes these changes, and future changes, will force students to seek employment on campus and learn valuable life skills while doing so.
“The greatest value of student employment is for students to earn a living in a setting where they are students first,” Johnson said. “We want students to learn invaluable skills in time management and how to prioritize their various college implications.”
Johnson also stressed that students should contact either the Office of Student Employment or the Office of Financial Aid with any inquiries regarding student employment.

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