By: Karen Farkas
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Much of the more than $1 billion a year in federal taxpayer-funded work-study money for college students is going to the children of better-off families at expensive private universities, and not their lower-income counterparts, according to The Hechinger Report.
Nearly one in four work-study recipients, who work about 20 hours a week at a university job, come from families with incomes of more than $80,000 a year. Fewer than half meet the federal definition of financial need, the report said.
The formula “disproportionately benefits the students who need it the least,” says Rory O’Sullivan, research and policy director at the youth advocacy organization Young Invincibles. “At a time of tight budgets, it doesn’t make sense. It should go to people who can benefit the most.”
Unlike other federal financial aid, the money for work-study isn’t allocated based on how many students at a university actually need it, but on how much the university got the year before, and how much it charges. That perpetuates a system under which universities that have been invested in work-study the longest, and have the highest tuition—largely, private nonprofits—are its biggest beneficiaries.
The result is that, today, nearly one in four work-study recipients comes from a family that earns more than $80,000 a year, a higher proportion than come from families that make less than $20,000, according to new figures from the U.S. Department of Education. Nearly half attend private, nonprofit universities and colleges.
Community colleges, large numbers of which were established after the work-study formula took root, enroll 30 percent of all students, including many who have comparatively low incomes. But they get only 16 percent of work-study money, according to the College Board. Fewer than 2 percent of community college students have work-study jobs.
Begun in 1964, work-study cost taxpayers just under $1.2 billion during the 2010-2011 academic year, the last for which the figure is available. The money went to 711,588 students, who earned an average of $1,642 each by working in dining halls and libraries and at other jobs on and off campus. Some of the cost of the students’ salaries is shared with the institution; in other cases, the government covers the full amount.
Trafficking symposium at Notre Dame College: The 2014 NEO Human Trafficking Symposium will be held on Friday, January 10 at Notre Dame College in South Euclid.
The daylong event is hosted by the college and the Renee Jones Empowerment Center in Cleveland.
The symposium will provide information to the general public, with particular application to healthcare professionals, educators, law enforcement, church and faith community leaders, community members, students, parents, social service providers and victim advocates.
Highlights of the program include discussions of missing persons, the impact of complex trauma, human trafficking in Ohio and a survivors panel.
The keynote address will be given by Steven Alan Hassan, director of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center Inc. in Newton, Mass. Hassan has worked with cult victims and is the author of three books including “Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults and Beliefs.”
The event is in the college’s performing arts center in the lower level of the administration building, 4545 College Road.
Registration is encouraged and can be done online at Eventbrite.com. Conference registration includes materials, continental breakfast and lunch. The cost of the symposium is $60 and $25 for students with a valid student ID.