Washington State may cut State Work Study Program

The Seattle University Spectator reported today on a proposal of Washington Governor Christine Gregoire to suspend the state work study program for one year to address budget shortfalls. Washington, like many other states, offers a state-level work study program in addition to the Federal Work Study program most of us may be familiar with. A representative of the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board explained that this cut could be particularly devastating for graduate and professional students (including law students), because work study is the only need-based aid offered at that level by the state.

Other states have struggled with funding state-level work study programs in tough times too. Iowa eliminated their program for four years during the last decade, and its current funding level is at a fraction of what it was in the late 90’s.  Minnesota managed to escape with just a five percent cut for the 2010-11 year, though its program was also temporarily eliminated in the early 2000’s.

Watching the balance between state and federal support for higher education is critical – just because Federal Work Study programs stay intact doesn’t mean students at all levels aren’t being negatively affected in their financial aid scenarios.

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