SG passes a bill to expand on campus jobs for work-study students

The Undergraduate Senate passed a bill on Sept. 20 to expand the number of on-campus student employment opportunities.

The bill was sponsored by Senator for the College of Arts and Sciences Nicole Tarazona and Senator for the Kogod School of Business George Khnouf in hopes of providing the student body with greater opportunities for financial assistance, specifically students receiving aid via federal work study.

“AU is receiving more students every year, and tuition keeps getting higher, but more FWS jobs are not being made available,” Khnouf said as he proposed the bill on the floor of the meeting.

The Senators said the bill was drafted because AU’s ever-growing student body has faced difficulty in affording increased tuition and costs. FWS is federally-subsidized to allow some students to work a designated job either on or off campus to help cover educational costs, according to the U.S. Department of Education website. The student is given the option to use their wages to pay off their federal student loans or to keep their full wage for personal use.

Some AU students receive FWS as part of their financial aid package, but other students, such as Khnouf, never get the opportunity to participate due to the limited number of FWS jobs on campus. Khnouf said he applied for five different positions, but did not get a job that complied with the program.

Tarazona and Khnouf modeled the campus employment bill after student employment opportunities at Georgetown University. Many of Georgetown’s on-campus retail and dining facilities are staffed primarily through students, often through the student-run management business The Corp.

The bill will promote increased student employment in TDR and other campus dining locations, as well as the four new retail facilities currently being built in East Campus. This increased employment availability will aid in accommodating the increased number of students receiving FWS, reduce the need for students to work off-campus and increase student initiative on campus, the senators said.

While debating the bill, members of the Senate acknowledged that implementation of the bill will face difficulty before going into full effect. Individual administrators for each position will have to be contacted to determine the feasibility of the employment position for a student, whether or not it would work as a FWS position and what effect the various program payment plans would have on the administration and financial aid office. Currently, there is no set timeframe for implementation of the bill.

“We’re here for the students,” Khnouf said, “and we’re here to support them and their needs in any way we can.”

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