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How federal work studies have changed due to COVID-19

By Collin Atwood
@collinatwood17

The list of changes at Springfield College keep on piling up. The outbreak of COVID-19 has made every student, staff and faculty member adapt to the new environment. There isn’t a part of Springfield College that can avoid making the necessary changes. That includes the work studies program. 

Some students may have already seen the ramifications of the changes that have been made to the work studies on campus this semester. 

“There are many offices that could not have the capacity for as many students as they have had in the past,” said Jonathan Howell, Director of Human Resources at Springfield College.

According to the state’s capacity limits, only half of the original amount of people can be in an office space at a time. This leaves a lot of students out of a spot in the office or other work sites, but not out of a job. 

“We’ve also allowed students in a federal work study to work from the residence halls or the learning commons or something like that,” Howell said. This allows students to be able to still have an opportunity to maintain their work studies.  

The goal behind this is to have less people in a space at a time. “Spacing is important in this and that’s the primary driver for the changes that we’re making,” Howell said.

Another change to work studies this year has been to the budget. This has delayed some of the student employment opportunities. “This year, one of the things we put in place is we pushed the date out a little bit for non-federal work study students,” Howell said. 

Federal work studies students are students who have a job on campus as part of their financial aid. Non-federal work studies students are students who have jobs on campus that are not funded by financial aid. The institution pays those students to work for them. 

Students who are on a federal work study are being prioritized first because their on campus jobs are part of the reason they are able to attend Springfield College. Students who do not get funded to work by financial aid can expect to have their jobs by early October. 

“We have made some dispensations for students who are certainly in roles that require licensure or certifications,” Howell said. “Regardless of their financial work study situation, those students can move forward in the hiring process now,” Howell added.

Juniors and seniors on campus who are in advanced roles are also exempt from the financial aid situation. “By PLT, which is the President’s Leadership team, if they approve that person then that person could also be hired in advance of the early October date,” Howell said.

Although we are in difficult times, the staff working in human resources is doing everything they can to get students back to their on campus jobs one way or another.

“All efforts are being made this year to ensure that the work studies students have ample opportunity to work on campus if they so choose,” Howell said. 

Photo: Collin Atwood/The Student

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