Sequester Threatens Work Study Programs

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email

HARRISONBURG -- Automatic budget cuts, also known as sequestration, could cut work study programs. More than 2,000 students in Virginia would be affected.

To Scott Magat, a James Madison University student, minimum wage sounds pretty good. He is working his first job out of high school.

"Answer questions, help students out with which paper work. And I help professors out with making copies or any other tasks that they don't have the time for,” said Magat.

Minimum wage doesn't seem like a big deal, but it is when you're struggling to pay college tuition.

"I have almost all the grants, loans, other scholarships, so this really helps."

A work study program helps him stay involved on campus, even if he's just working six to 12 hours per week.

"I'm in a fraternity right now, this helps me pay for that. Helps me pay for my club sports teams that I'm on. Without it, I probably wouldn't be that involved on campus. So, it really gives me a reason to stay in school.”

Magat is a freshman, so he could be directly affected by these budget cuts. If the work study program was taken away, he said he would have to quit his fraternity and the swim club.

"It wouldn't really look good that I wouldn't have any type of experience in any type of field. So, doing work study really helps me advance my communication skills that I am going to need for the future."

Even though it's his first year, Magat has a lot of friends who use work study too.

"It would just hurt a lot of students I'm not the only one that would be affected by it. For a lot of college students it's hard for them to find jobs. So, work study gives kids the opportunity to do stuff that they wouldn't normally be able to do."

Even college graduates would be affected by these cuts. Job search assistance is another cut about which lawmakers are talking. Virginia would lose about $350,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral and placement.

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