Work-study jobs create competition

Samra Khawaja
Contributing Writer

Getting a job on campus is competitive, and some students at VCU think that it’s who you know, not what you know.

Students who are awarded federal work-study money are supposed to be given higher priority in the hiring process according to the VCU enrollment services, but some students disagree.

“Just because you have work-study money doesn’t necessarily mean you need the job,” VCU junior Maeya Bland said.

Bland, who had been looking for a work-study job since last year, said this year wasn’t as hard to look for a position because she had friends connect her to opportunities.

“(The) majority (of students) get hired because of a friend,” VCU junior Kokob Gebregziabher said. “People should get hired because of their resume.”

The search for work-study jobs on campus begins online where students search through postings listed by potential employers. Those submissions are reviewed weekly and filtered out.

According to Amy Taloma, information and marketing manager at the University Student Commons and Activities, campus employers are not allowed to hire applicants without work-study money because only students who are granted the financial aid award can receive a job position.

Along with the work-study award, Taloma said past experience and references are carefully considered.

“It’s tough on me,” she said. “I had to say no to a lot of good applicants.”

However, recommendations by current employees help hiring managers like Taloma move applications higher up on the waiting list.

“I feel like that’s what it’s like in the real job market right now,” Taloma said.

The VCU Enrollment Services Financial Aid department states federal work-study jobs are not guaranteed. Enrollment Services suggests that in order to secure a job placement “students should contact the potential employers.”

Taloma said most of the students she hires are hired based on their application and not by referrals.

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