Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lyudmila Gritskevich, STCC Work-study Student


Along with student grants and loans, the federal government provides U.S. colleges and universities with work-study funds – money to support financial aid eligible students to work either on or off campus.

At STCC Lyudmila Gritskevich (pictured above) is a work-study student in our English as a Second Language Office where her Russian language skills are valuable in greeting Russian-speaking students and assisting them in filling out college forms. Originally from Belarus, she has been taking classes at STCC since 2004, starting in English as a Second Language, earning a certificate in clerical office assistant this past May, and studying medical office assistant program.

Like other students, Lyudmila’s work-study has given her valuable work experience, increased her engagement on campus, and elevated her self-esteem. Although I know of no studies linking college-work study and student success, I believe that it does.

Now for my modest proposal: double the federal funding of college work-study funding. The federal work-study allocation is $980 Million - a very small fraction of federal outlays. For comparison, this amount is about the cost to the US taxpayers of three days of the Iraqi War.

Students have in the past supported themselves with outside employment while attending college. But the scarcity of jobs has dried up such opportunities. Meanwhile, our colleges, particularly community colleges, are flooded with new students seeking education and skills for jobs of the future. Helping them now with more work-study funds would increase student success while helping transition the country through this period of high unemployment. Lyudmila and millions like her would benefit.