Though $200 million for Federal Work Study was signed into the economic stimulus law by President Barack Obama last week, University of Wisconsin officials are not optimistic that UW will feel much of its affects.
According to UW Director of Financial Aid Susan Fischer, the fund will be distributed among 3,200 schools and is projected to help a total of 130,000 students nationwide.
“When it’s spread out among all the schools, it’s not very much money,” Fischer said. “We don’t know how it’s going to be distributed. We may get $80 to $100,000, or we may not get anything.”
Though uncertain about the impact this fund will have on the university, Fischer added the department of education will still fight for its share.
“I’m not very confident it’s going to have a major impact on us, but one can always hope,” Fischer said. “We are all scrambling for the same dollars. … It will not be earth-shaking, but we will take it — we will always take it because our students will work and use it.”
According to Fischer, 1,800 to 2,000 of the school’s neediest students are helped each year by work-study programs. Work study gives students who qualify for financial aid the opportunity to do some form of on- or off-campus work.
Fischer added work-study makes the student more economically attractive to employers.
UW System spokesperson David Giroux said though a large portion of the educational aspects of the overall economic stimulus package will come to the UW, they do not know how much money they will get from this specific grant.
Giroux added regardless of the allocation, the system is always supportive of any increase in financial aid on all levels.
“We think it’s an important way to stimulate the economy by helping students come to college and remain in college,” Giroux said.
The grants will be distributed to colleges in all 50 states by April 1. Colleges will be able to offer the money and the work-study programs to students in the next academic year.