As the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program prepares for the upcoming spring 2018 semester, it is challenged with the proposition to eliminate crucial programs such as the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).
Policies for financial aid are being revisited as President Donald Trump re-evaluates the Higher Education Act of 1965.
The Republican House Committee on Education and the Workforce proposed a new bill called “The Prosper Act.” It plans to reauthorize the Higher Education Act of 1965 by eliminating old policy grants and only pushing the “One Grant, One Loan” system, which limits the grants and loans given to students.
The new bill will propose funneling the money cut from FSEOG into the work-study programs. However, under the bill, graduate students would no longer be eligible for FWS Programs.
Montclair State University takes part in the FWS Program organized by the Office of Financial Aid, which is available to undergraduate and graduate students. This provides an opportunity for students to earn money for tuition expenses while working jobs on campus.
However, the program has certain qualifications by federal law that must be met by students for them to be eligible to participate in the FWS program. One of the qualifications is that the student must meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards.
SAP standards determine whether students are making progress toward completing their degrees at a reasonable rate. These standards emphasize that students must obtain a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA and pass at least 60 percent of their classes to remain eligible for the program.
Currently, the FWS Program at Montclair State has an enrollment of roughly 500 students.
According to Director of Financial Aid James T. Anderson, there are three to four times more campus jobs provided by the university compared to work-study jobs.
Anderson, who supervises and awards financial assistance to over 11,000 students each year, goes to great lengths to make sure the students in the work-study program are receiving the best quality guidance they need.
“We are always making sure we are up to code with regulations and news to better assist the students,” Anderson said.
Although there is no boom in FWS jobs on campus, the program still manages to award students $1,500 each semester as long as the budget remains intact.
“It’s a rewarding job,” Anderson said. “Students who graduate come back and give us encouragement, make the job much easier. It pushes us to continue to strive for student success.”
Sophomore English major Lisbel Torres is among the numerous students whose academic life has been changed due to the abundant resources provided by the work-study program.
“Being in the program is very enriching,” Torres said. “I mean I had the opportunity, since I work in the library, to learn new skills and to be exposed to new aspects of the campus. I would [have] never had the opportunity had it not been for this program.”