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June 8, 2001

Work study cut lowers earning limits for returning students

by Diana Pounds
When the Legislature recently eliminated the state work study program, Iowa State lost $438,363 in work-study funds. The cut has the potential to affect work-study jobs for approximately 800 Iowa State students.

But financial aid director Earl Dowling says he has drawn up a plan to get through next year "with minimal disruption" to work-study students and the Iowa State departments that hire them.

Under the plan, ISU officials will reduce the maximum amount that work-study students can earn and limit the number of students participating in a work-study-funded undergraduate research program. In addition, officials no longer will have the flexibility to increase some individuals' awards when they reach their earning limits or to consider work-study applications submitted after the March 1 deadline, Dowling said.

The maximum amount that returning work-study students will be allowed to earn in FY02 will be reduced to $2,000 -- $400 less than the current maximum. A student earning the university work-study average of $6.60 and working 9.5 hours for 32 weeks would earn approximately $2,000, Dowling said.

The plan doesn't change the maximum work-study eligibility for entering freshmen, Dowling added. It would remain at the current level of $1,800.

While university officials had planned to award undergraduate research assistantships to 200 students next year, that target has been scaled back to 125 to save on the work-study funds that are used to pay the students. The Undergraduate Research Assistantship program provides paid research opportunities for upper-class students and is funded by both federal and state work-study monies, Dowling said.

Iowa State had approximately 1,200 students on work-study this year, and Dowling said he anticipates about the same number of students in the program next year.

Iowa State receives $1.25 million in federal work-study funds annually. Departments hiring work-study students pay 30 percent of the students' salaries, with the remainder coming from work-study funds.

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