CSUN’s Work Study Program adds participants despite budget cut

Jeff Ishuninov

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Eddie Morán, 25 Psychology major, is part of the work study program at CSUN. He is a receptionist at the financial aid office in Bayramian Hall. Photo Credit: Herber Lovato/ Staff Photographer

Despite a cut to the federal work-study program’s budget, there are more CSUN students in the program this year than there were last year.

There are currently 545 students in the work-study program, compared to 510 at the same time last year, said Josefina Carbajal, CSUN Work-Study manager.  But there was a decrease in federal work-study funding by about $200,000. Still, the university tries to accommodate as many students as possible.

“The campus over-allocates the work-study funds, because there are always more students interested in the program than allocated funds. Our fall expenditures were higher than ever before,” Carbajal said.

This does not come as a surprise, because according to the United States Department of Labor, California’s unemployment rate as of December last year was 12.5 percent. Inevitably, students are affected by this situation, since it is harder to find jobs on or off campus.

When a student is hired, work-study award funds are given to the department that hired the student to be paid on a monthly basis. Eventually those funds run out but if the department wants to keep that student working, they have a choice to pay out of their own budget and keep the student.

Federal Work-Study program at CSUN provides students an opportunity of exceeding at work and studies. The work-study program is a part of the Financial Aid and Scholarship Department. It gives students a chance to work on campus while earning their degrees in whatever major they select.

The list of benefits includes convenient campus locations, opportunity to make money, work experience and familiar environment to name a few.

This program is funded by the government and the funds are limited and so  is the number of students who will receive a federal work-study award. Everyone interested in the program is advised to apply in advance. Priority deadline to apply for financial aid for the next academic year is March 2. Students need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for federal work-study.

If a student is eligible and offered work-study funds, they will look for a work-study job on campus. The next step would be to communicate with the department offering the job.

Students can use this program as a stepping-stone toward jobs after they graduate. Since jobs are located on campus and many co-workers are also students, the transition becomes a bit easier.  Some jobs are available in the department that coincides with the student’s major, thus giving them an opportunity to gain on-hand experience that will be important in the future.

“Eligible work-study students can work at more than one job, but the total amount of work time cannot exceed 20 hours per week. Maximum work-study awards a student can receive is $3,500 per academic year, which is a good improvement from maximum of $2,500 two to three years ago,” Carbajal said.

The Previous award of $2,500 was not going as far as it used to and there was also a minimum wage increase in the state of California for two years in a row.

The Financial Aid and Scholarship Department Web page is a resource for students who have questions or are interested  in the federal work-study program. Junior David Farias, athletic training major, found out about the program when he was researching financial aid and scholarship options. Now he works as a receptionist at the financial aid office.

“It’s working out great for me, not only is it convenient, but it is also a great learning experience. My co-workers are understanding, they know that I’m a student and help me out a lot with my daily tasks or if I have any questions,” Farias said.

CSUN’s work-study gives students an opportunity to take the first steps in the transition between college and work.