All Around the Liberal Arts: The federal budget edition

By David Hertz

Café Mac student workers may be able to thank Barack Obama for their fantastic jobs next semester. $200 million of the stimulus package has been set aside for the Federal Work-Study program, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.Government officials expect the bill to help colleges hire 130,000 additional student workers at an average wage of $1,500 per year.

The Federal Work-Study program pays up to 25 percent of a college’s work-study costs each year. With the extra $200 million, the program’s budget may exceed $1 billion this year.

Officials considered tying the extra money to a new community service requirement for students, but decided against it. A one-year study will research the feasibility of requiring community service for the funds.

Money will be distributed to colleges this April and will be available for students starting next fall.

The provision will help stimulate the economy in various ways, Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid, a website about financial aid, told the Chronicle of Higher Education.

According to Kantrowitz, the money will either go towards tuition, which helps pay staff and faculty salaries, and for other college expenditures, or to student living expenses. Kantrowitz said that money going to student living expenses is very effective because it is spent rapidly.

So, Mac student employees, remember next time you get your paycheck, spend it all. Maybe then when graduation comes, there will be real jobs available.