In an opinion piece published in the Olympian last weekend, Lacey resident Juliette Knight described how additional cuts to student financial aid programs could impact the college plans of many students. Knight, a former State Work Study (SWS) employee, wrote in support of the SWS program, which has been proposed for suspension to help offset a $1.4 billion state revenue shortfall for the remainder of the biennium.
“The program is a win-win for students,” Knight wrote. “First, work study recipients benefit because they are able to pay a portion of their way through college and reduce reliance on school loan borrowing. Second, the work experience gained is invaluable in preparing for full-time entry into the work force.”
Suspension of SWS would reduce the current budget hole by $8 million, according to figures released earlier by the Governor’s office and the Office of Financial Management. However, suspension also would mean that an estimated 3,500 low- and middle-income students would lose annual paychecks averaging $3,000 per year—money they use to help pay their college expenses.
At a time when many businesses are struggling, about 2,000 employers also would lose millions of hours in employee productivity through the loss of SWS employees.