RSU CALLS FOR BETTER WORK-STUDY POLICY

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By Carys Mills

The divvying up of work-study funding needs to be improved, according to the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU).

The students’ union passed a motion to lobby the university for improvements at a Jan. 13 RSU board meeting.

Starting this year, if a student leaves their on-campus work-study job the department that hired them is unable to transfer funding to hire a new student, according to vice-president finance and services, Toby Whitfield, who moved the motion. “The funding that’s allocated to that position disappears,” said Whitfield.

The RSU discovered the policy when a students’ union employee left their job. About an extra $2,000 had to be dedicated to hiring a new student because of the lack of financial support, said Whitfield.

Work-study funding comes from Ryerson’s financial aid office, which argues that there is no new policy at work.

“It has been a part of the program for at least the past 10 years I have been at Ryerson,” said Carole Scrase, manager of student financial assistance, in an e-mail.

She said when a student leaves their job, which could be due to grade or financial need requirements, the money set aside for the job is audited.

She said less than 10 to 15 students leave their jobs every year out of the 800 positions on campus and most empty positions are left vacant.

“A change in procedure does not appear to be warranted for the 1.9 per cent of the employers that might be effected,” said Scrase.

Work-study jobs on campus get 75 per cent of funding from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, according to Ministry spokesperson Patrick O’Gorman.

He said while the government doesn’t have a rule about reallocating funding, Ryerson would be able to establish such a rule. Ryerson president Sheldon Levy said work-study money is attached to the student receiving financial aid, not the job.

“The problem is that it’s money to support students,” said Levy. “That’s its primary purpose. It isn’t to support a department to get work from students.”

 

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