There are opportunities available through Work Study for students to make some extra cash.
“Work Study doesn’t mean you get to study on the job,” said Jan Adams, a work study representative in the Financial Aid office. “It means you get to help pay for your studies.”
Adams said that most students do not realize these positions exist because they don’t know what Work Study really is. “Work Study is a grant that you can apply for,” she said. “We subsidize the student’s employment through Financial Aid.”
Because so many students are misinformed, Adams said, the school has a shortage of Work Study employees.
The choices available “can be pretty much anything from working in the copy center, to ceramics, to the library,” said student Ira Pradmore, 22, a Financial Aid front desk representative. “Virtually anything on campus can be a potential work study job, and there are off campus positions available as well.”
“A lot of students do not know what Work Study is, and they don’t apply,” said Adams, ”which is why we still have a lot of money left over that we were hoping to have spent already.”
Work Study positions are only available to those who meet certain financial qualifications. “You have to have applied for FAFSA, and have…eligibility that is determined through that FAFSA process,” said Pradmore.
“Whether or not you qualify is based on income,” said Adams. “If you are over 25, or if you are under 25 and are independent, it is based on your income, not your parents’ income.”
“Working in the school makes it a lot easier for me to balance going to school and having a job at the same time,” said student Jacob Lopez, 20, who works at the Student Life desk. “I only started working yesterday, and I already feel very comfortable in my work and school environment.
“The people in the interview process were not intimidating at all,” said Lopez. “In fact, they were very welcoming, so the process of being hired was pretty easy going.”
Student Carol Ann Jaime, 56, explained her job as a circulations desk aid at the Whatcom Community College library. “I mostly do customer service,” said Jaime. “We call our customers patrons, because this is their library. I help them check in and out their books, and help them in reaching the right reference people if need be.”
Jaime described how her motivation for receiving her job at the library was a result of her passion for books, as well as her current situation in school. “I’m just coming back to school after 32 years, and I wanted to finish out my AA degree as well as have a job, so I figured I would kill two birds with one stone by working for the library while I further my education.”
Not only does the Work Study program offer a wide variety of employment opportunities, but it offers a range of internship opportunities as well.
“By doing internships, students satisfy credits in a career relevant area, and often receive paying positions,” said Adams. “I had a group of paralegal students get internships, and five of the six ended up in paying positions afterwards.”
Ultimately, Work Study aims to fiscally assist those who need it. “We have students taking out $30,000 a year in loans on a community college budget,” said Adams. “We’re trying to help students cut down on their loan amounts, which can be huge.”