College creates new work study program

With the threat of statewide tuition increases looming and unemployment at 8.9 percent locally, paying for college has become a daunting thought for some families.

Need-based state and federal work-study programs can help students pay for school, but some students that don’t qualify for traditional work-study still need extra cash, Mesa State College Director of Financial Aid Curt Martin said.

That’s why the college set aside $120,000 this semester to employ 50 students on campus.

The students who enroll in the program, called MavWorks, don’t have to meet an income requirement, but they do have to have a grade point average of 3.0 or above and enroll in the college full-time. Students can earn up to $1,200 a semester at a MavWorks job.

Martin said the jobs include working in the new Maverick Center sports and fitness facility and working in various departments across campus.

The program was conceived after a discussion among college personnel about how to retain middle-income students, he said.

“Studies have shown that work-study helps student retention and graduation rates, probably because they get tied into the campus and have a vested interest in staying there,” Martin said.

The program is slated to continue next year, but 50 MavWorks jobs are on the list of potential cuts in the college’s 2010-11 budget, along with $300,000 for student recruitment, $250,000 to reduce program improvement allowances and a $119,059 budget reduction that would be made by leaving merit pay at 2009 levels.

All of these possibilities were listed in a PowerPoint presentation in January at a Mesa State Board of Trustees meeting and could be used to help close a projected $1.05 million budget gap at the college.

In 2008-09, 116 Mesa State students participated in federally funded work-study; 415 had state-funded, work-study jobs; and 793 enrolled in a state-funded, student-assistance, work-study program.


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