Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Work-Study Funding Is Crucial and Needs Boost, Students Say

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Work-Study Funding Is Crucial and Needs Boost, Students Say

Article excerpt

A group of Rutgers University students, including a few from North Jersey, is heading to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to ask lawmakers to increase funding for work-study programs and overall financial aid.

Roger Masi, 21, of Lodi gets financial aid but not work-study money. Nevertheless, he's one of a group of Rutgers students who hope to increase federal funding for work-study programs.

"If I didn't receive some type of financial aid, I wouldn't be in the position I am now -- about to graduate college," Masi said.

And he said work-study funding is important because it helps students gain job experience, build their resumes and learn networking skills. Students who qualify for work-study compete for campus jobs and community service, and use the paychecks for their expenses.

Since the 2001-02 school year, Rutgers has lost $600,000 in work- study funding. Out of 11,052 students who work on campus, more than 3,000 are paid through the work-study program, said Sharon Welsh, manager of student employment at Rutgers. But the university is able to offer work-study jobs to about 600 fewer students than in the 2003-04 school year, she said.

Work-study funding is down at a time when colleges and universities are seeing an increase in the number of students working part time while they are in school.

Some are working to help pay tuition as the cost of higher education rises faster than inflation, said Richard White, director of career services at Rutgers in New Brunswick. Others are working to get a leg up on their careers. Colleges are also seeing students apply for internships earlier in their education, White said.

And some students are working for the extra pocket money.

There are plenty of opportunities for students to get jobs while in college, said Sharon Rosengart, director of the career development and advisement center at William Paterson University in Wayne. Many on-campus jobs go to students in the work-study program. But many local businesses advertise off-campus jobs on a university- run Web site.

Gideon Rojas, 24, a senior at William Paterson, puts in 20 hours a week working on campus at the computer lab. …

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