Freshmen across campus are preparing themselves to lose federal work study in the fall, but Gonzaga’s Office of Financial Aid is ready to get involved.
“We typically award federal work study to freshmen,” said Jim White, dean of Financial Services at GU.
The Financial Aid Office not only assists students in understanding how they lost their financial aid, but assists with the job-hunting process.
White said the most common reason students lose their federal work study is because of a rise in household income, but also because the bulk of work study money goes to the freshman class.
“For freshmen, we want to keep them close to the nest,” White said.
In contrast to keeping students close as freshmen, White said GU has a goal to get sophomores and upperclassmen off campus to start gaining real-world experience.
“Most students are not going to work for a college campus when they graduate, and all work is valuable, but we want you to start getting work that is more related to your field and it offers a little more flexibility,” White said.
Senior Stephanie Kreamer was affected by the loss of work study her sophomore year.
“I lost mine because my dad’s income fluctuates a lot, and it just so happened that one year, he made too much for me to qualify for work study,” Kreamer said.
“I talked to the Financial Aid Office, and they said it is possible to show an average of his income over a couple years,” Kreamer said.
Although the federally designated work study was lost originally, the Office of Financial Aid is always willing to attempt to help.
“Later on, if we had a request for funding and we still felt like we had funding available, we could honor going above our cutoff,” White said.
Typically, the university has a family income cutoff that, if exceeded, excludes students from work study but exceptions do occur.
Another issue that commonly arises on campus, especially as freshmen, is the inability to find a job on campus, even with work study having been awarded on the FAFSA.
If a student is a Washington resident, there is a fairly easy solution to this.
“If you are a Washington resident and you are eligible for work study, your sophomore year, you will be awarded state work study, mainly because state work study pays a little better," White said. "And again, it is giving students that experience."
This also works for freshmen Washington residents who were awarded federal work study and cannot find a job on campus.
“I chose to work off campus at St. Anne’s Day Care, because I was unable to find a job on campus,” freshman Grace Carson said.
She reached out to the Office of Financial Aid, and together, they matched her with an off-campus job that constitutes as state work study, replacing her federal work study awarded at the beginning of the year.
“I really like working off campus and GU really helped me find this job,” Carson said.
The Office of Financial Aid has services and connections of which many students on campus are not aware.
“Any student who is having difficulty should check in with us,” White said.
Not only does the university offer federal and state work study, but it has a budget for institutional work.
“The university budgets about $3 million a year in institutional work and if students want to find a job, they typically do not have a problem,” White said.
Many jobs across campus are not work study positions at all, such as positions at Rudolf Fitness Center and Gonzaga University Event Service Team, which manages all events on campus.
Although those positions are still open for work study students, they are also offered to students who lost their financial aid and would still like a job on campus.
Institutional work on campus is posted on Handshake, and students may contact the Office of Financial Aid with any questions.