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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

GW’s work-study program places among top universities

GW ranks above Columbia, Harvard and Yale universities when it comes to spending federal work-study funds on community service. These Ivy League and other U.S. News and World Report top 20 schools have come under fire recently for misdirecting government money intended for service-oriented jobs.

Federal law mandates that schools seeking federal funding for work-study need to put at least 7 percent of the money into community service-oriented work.

Spending 15 percent of its federal work-study funds on community service jobs, GW allocates about 3 percent more of its funds than the national average of 12 percent.

“Community service is a large part of the fabric that makes up our campus,” said Linda Donnels, associate vice president and dean of students.

Donnels said the student interest in community service allows GW to maintain several programs.

She said GW dedicates more work-study funds to community service than other universities in urban settings.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago and Houston’s Rice University all dedicated less than 7.7 percent to community service, according to the Washington Post.

GW ranks second in community service work-study among D.C. metro schools, behind Howard University, said Anne Scammon, director of student employment.

The paper also reported that 75 percent of colleges ranked in U.S. News’ top 20 this year fall below the national average for allocating work-study funds toward community service.

Congress is currently considering legislation that would raise the required percentage of federal work-study funds that are used for community service from 7 to 25 percent.

Scammon said if the minimum percentage is raised, the University will not have any problem raising the numbers another 10 percent.

“We have a very able program that I have the utmost confidence in,” she said.

Donnels agreed, noting that GW would develop more opportunities for community service if requirements rise.

GW funds service programs like the D.C. Reads Project and the Neighbors Project.

D.C. Reads is a tutoring service, where GW work-study employees teach students in a one-on-one, group or classroom situation. Founded in 1996, the program has grown to include more than 250 students.

The Neighbors Project educates D.C. residents and provides support for people with health problems among other things. The project receives 600 or more volunteers on a weekly basis

“The Student Employment Office has been very supportive of our programs and have helped us grow and continue to do so,” D.C. Reads Coordinator Sean Kelly said.

More than 1,200 students, or almost 8 percent of the GW population, participate in GW’s work-study programs to earn extra money for tuition costs and other living expenses.

Students make $7 to $11 an hour depending on their level of work, and usually put in about eight to 15 hours a week. The Career Center ranks the difficulty of each job on a one to five scale to determine the pay.

Students said they develop time management skills while participating in the work-study program, because they are forced to balance personal, academic and job responsibilities.

“The work-study program provides students with opportunities to get experience in the work force and earn money,” Scammon said. “It is an earn and learn program that we feel offers students their first career step.”

Junior Lori Russel took part in the work-study program during her freshman year. She said having a work-study job allowed her to spend extra money on things such as school supplies and dinners with friends.

Jobs are available on campus and at other locations in D.C.

On campus, there are currently 47 types of work-study jobs available, according to the GW job search engine. Called GWTrak, the engine displays jobs ranging from ushering at Lisner Auditorium to officiating at intramural sporting events or assisting in one of the administration buildings.

“The school makes it really easy to find a job that is appealing to me because of GWTrak and the job showcase that was available earlier this year,” said Noah Klein, a freshman library assistant on work-study.

There are also several jobs available off campus including tutoring inner city children, interning at the Woodrow Wilson International Center and becoming a human relations assistant for the Peace Corps.

GW’s career center has allocated student jobs since the federal work-study program began in the ’60s, Scammon said.

The 1965 act that established the work-study program aimed to help students earn extra cash while going to school and get more involved in community services.

“I find it easy to balance work and study life because I am able to do my school work during my job hours when there are slow periods of time,” said Anny Laepple, a freshman office assistant.

Other D.C.-area schools also perform well on the work-study community service scale.

According to the Washington Post, GW ranks sixth among 23 area schools and above American and Georgetown universities, who commit eight and nine percent of their respective funds toward community service.

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