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Students struggling to earn work study

Students at Mills who receive work study through Mills College’s financial aid system are not guaranteed their full award nor are they guaranteed a job on campus.

Over 80% of the Mills’ student population receives some form of financial aid. One aspect of these financial aid packages is work study.

The financial aid office offers work study to residential students who have some form of work history.

The awards have a cap of $3,000 for the student to earn, unless they petition the office for more.

These awards, however, are not promises that students will receive an on-campus job.

“A work study award does not guarantee employment but enables a student to apply for an on-campus job through listings at Career Services in the Division of Student Life,” according to the Mills website.

Most students seem to misunderstand this part of the work study description.

For first year Joycelynn Ferguson, receiving work study was a deciding factor in her decision to attend Mills.

Now, she is unsure if she will earn enough hours to get the money allotted for her through her work study award.

“It’s stressful, I was anticipating $3000 to pay for school, but now I am anticipating less, probably something just over $1000,” Ferguson said.

According to David Gin, Associate Vice President of Student Financial and Administrative Services, there is about an equal number of students who will earn more than their work study award and those who will earn less than their work study award.

Gin also said that the amount of money allocated to students is based off of the M Center’s estimation of whether students will meet their allocation or not.

For Emily Plurkowski, the Assistant Aquatics Director at Trefethen Aquatics Center, it is easier to hire students who receive work study, than students who do not. Plurkowski said that this is because there’s an additional process through Human Resources to hire students who do not receive work study. When people apply for a job, it is something they ask in the interviewing process, Plurkowski said.

Although employers on campus would prefer to hire work study students, some students offered work study still have trouble getting a job.

Charley Breyer, a first year at Mills, planned on getting a job on campus with their work study allotment, but couldn’t find one.

“I was turned away by the library because I had no experience, so then I applied at Book Arts and the audio visual department, but I still didn’t get hired,” Breyer said.

Breyer commented on how after being turned away, they applied to jobs that were on the Mills website, but the jobs were either already filled or no one every contacted them back.

“They never called me back, and when I called them, they would tell me that the positions were already filled,” Breyer said.

When the M Center put up a job posting on the student news emails and on the career services tab on the Mills website, they received 7-10 applicants, “all very good candidates” said David Gin the Associate Vice President of Student  Financial and Administrative Services.

Plurkowski hires lifeguards and pool assistants who are on work study, and while she said she does not schedule students based on their allotment from financial aid, she does make sure that students don’t go over their hours.

Audre Mowry has been awarded work study all three years she’s been at Mills. She works as both a phone ambassador and and has never reached her full amount.

“I know someone who was really, really close, she worked 13 or 14 hours a week in admissions, but she still came up about a hundred (dollars) or so short,” Mowry said.