Financial Aid Awarness Day

Santa Monica College has been notified that for the remainder of the 2004-2005 fiscal year, the Federal Work Study program will no longer be able to fund student workers past May 15. In less than a week SMC student workers will be limited to work for no more than 10 hours per week in the first two weeks in May.

The Federal Work Study program stopped awarding money to students sooner than expected. Factors such as Cal Grants, Student Aid, and Campus Based Aid have in some way affected the sum of money for financial aid the U.S. Congress awards.

Congress has approved less funding for what is called "Campus Based Programs," which includes Federal Work Study (FWS) and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG). This has resulted in the inconvenience of students being laid-off.

"The wild card out there is how much money will be approved by Congress since we're in a deficit," said Steven Myrow, director of Financial Aid. Records have indicated the sum of FWS money has significantly decreased from 2004-05. The allocations for SMC have decreased $100,000 for this year. "SMC is midway through a decrease in work study allocations," said Myrow.

"There was a gross under-estimation when Financial Aid money was awarded," said SMC student worker Erika Miles. In turn, this has left many SMC students perplexed and concerned with the current cutbacks. The shortfall has been a surprise to students and several departments.

The dramatic increase in financial aid applicants from last year has created a demand for FWS. Since Congress has approved less funding, SMC can't spend more money than allotted. Whenever the sum of money is gone, it's gone for good. There are no additional funds granted in the case of falling short of FWS dollars. "It was an exhaustion of funds," said Miles.

Departments as well as students will suffer equally due to the cutbacks. "Students are going to be hurt. We play a vital part to keep the campus running," said Miles.