Work-study program loses more than $30,000 from Student Choice Initiative

Nearly 25 per cent of students opted out of program for low-income students 

University will sustain the work-study program this year following funding losses.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

A program designed to help low-income students secure part-time jobs on campus or at a local not-for-profit lost more than $30,000 this fall as a result of the Student Choice Initiative (SCI).

The SCI was introduced by the provincial government in January, and transitioned many student fees deemed “non-essential” by the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities (MTCU) from mandatory to optional this September. As a result, many services and organizations across Ontario post-secondary institutions received financial losses.

The AMS and SGPS combined opt-out rate from the work-study program fee was 24.52 per cent, Mark Erdman, Queen’s community relations and issues manager, wrote in a statement to The Journal. The combined financial loss amounted to $31,964.

“About 20 per cent of the program budget comes from student ancillary fees,” Erdman wrote. “When the Student Choice Initiative was announced, it was anticipated that the funding might decrease after the fee was moved from mandatory to opt-out to align with the government’s guidelines.”

The work-study program is a joint initiative between Student Awards and Career Services within the Division of Student Affairs (DSA). The University pays Queen’s departments and local not-for-profits a subsidy to help cover student salaries.

Eligible undergraduate students receive a work-study entitlement of $2,000 for the academic year, and graduate students receive an entitlement of $2,500.

“Queen’s will ensure uninterrupted delivery of the program this year, and the University will explore options to ensure the long-term sustainability of the program going forward,” Erdman said.

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