Sequester may reduce federal work-study funds in the fall


by Macy Salama and Scott Lunte

The sequester went into effect last Friday and will reduce Webster University federal work-study by an estimated $83,620 next school year, according to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. This is unless government reaches a deal. The cut is about 8 percent of Webster University’s originally estimated federal work-study allocation for the 2013-14 school year.

Elizabeth Condon-Oakberg, student employment coordinator at Webster, said the university is unsure of what, specifically, sequestration will affect. [pullquote]“We (Webster University) don’t know what it’s going to look like,” Elizabeth Condon-Oakberg said. “Neither do the people in Washington.”[/pullquote]

“We (Webster University) don’t know what it’s going to look like,” Condon-Oakberg said. “Neither do the people in Washington.”

The U.S. Department of Education sent out a memo to financial aid professors nation-wide. The memo stated that sequestration is projected to cut $86 million from Federal Work-Study and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant programs for the 2013-14 school year.

The final numbers are not expected to be released until later this spring. The memo also stated the sequester’s impact on the following programs:

— No impact on the Federal Pell Grant Program.

—An increase in loan fees for Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized Loans and PLUS Loans.

—A reduction in award amount in the Afghanistan Service Grant Program.

—A reduction in award amount in the TEACH Grant Program.

Condon-Oakberg suggested students be proactive and search for local jobs if they are not granted work-study for the 2013-14 school year.

“(Webster University) offices can help connect students to (off-campus) positions just through Gorlok Jobs and networking,” Condon-Oakberg said. “In the Old Orchard area, there are part-time positions available for students.”

Scott Air Force Base Affected

The $55 billion cut to the defense discretionary budget in 2013 will affect Webster University’s Scott Air Force Base (Scott AFB). Scott AFB campus director Stephen Forsha said he has already heard students express concerns about the federal cuts.

“Our students are concerned about paying for school if tuition assistance is reduced across the board or frozen,” Forsha said.

Forsha said Scott AFB students have been seeking alternative methods for paying tuition — such as loans. The St. Louis Business Journal reported that the cuts in the Air Force budget will affect 4,500 to nearly 7,000 workers at Scott AFB.

Workers will receive unpaid weekly furloughs over the next five months. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a furlough is a temporary layoff where employees are not on duty, and don’t receive pay due to lack of work or funds.

“(The furlough will) impact students’ ability to self-pay for the differential loss in tuition assistance,” Forsha said. “Most of our students utilize federal tuition assistance, employer reimbursement or veteran’s benefits (G.I. Bill).”

The Sequester defined

The sequester was introduced as the Budget Control Act of 2011. The Joint Select Committee was to come to a deal to cut $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. If the committee had reached an agreement, the sequester would have been averted.

Share this post

+ posts