Seeking Departments to Participate in Work Study Program
It's a win-win situation, says Raelynn Cooter, PhD, director
of Financial Aid at Jefferson Medical College (JMC), about the Federal Work
Study Program. Departments can employ highly qualified students with the
government subsidizing most of the cost, while students gain invaluable
"real world" working experience.
"The Work Study Program has multiple benefits," says Dr. Cooter.
"It helps students reduce the amount they have to borrow to finance
their education, while providing a wonderful enhancement to their education.
The students, in turn, increase Jefferson's presence in the surrounding
Jefferson exceeds community outreach goal
The Department of Education mandates that 5 percent of a school's allocation
must be used to fund community outreach positions. Because Jefferson exceeded
that mark during 1994-95, the University was awarded additional monies.
This year, the Financial Aid Offices of the University are encouraging every
department to create community service work-study positions.
"The more community service jobs we can offer, the more favorably the
government will look at us for another supplemental allocation," stresses
Susan Batchelor, associate director of financial aid, who coordinates the
program for the medical school. Currently, 35 students from JMC, the College
of Allied Health Sciences and College of Graduate Studies participate in
the community service aspect of the program.
Students fill variety of positions
Medical students are hired as researchers, technical aides or community
service interns. In addition to community service, the College of Allied
Health Sciences and College of Graduate Studies can also place students
in a similar variety of positions. Students are permitted to work no more
than 20 hours a week while in school, and 40 hours a week during vacation
periods. Federal monies pay for 75 percent of the student's hourly wage,
with departments contributing the remaining 25 percent.
Once a department establishes a work-study position, the appropriate Office
of Financial Aid does all the paperwork and conducts preliminary interviews
to screen applicants for the required skills before referring them to the
Stacey Bunch, a work-study student and winner of this year's Achievement
Award for Student Life in the College of Allied Health Sciences, says she
would recommend the program to any student at Jefferson. "It got me
into the community, which is where health care is going. I have more focus
on where I want to go in life," says Ms. Bunch, an occupational therapist
who worked at the Salvation Army's Gateway Homeless Shelter. In addition,
she made many contacts in the community that she hopes will lead to a full-time
Funding opens more positions
Last year's supplemental federal funding allowed Jefferson to employ twice
as many work-study students in community service positions as in the previous
year. "It would be good for Jefferson if 50 percent of our allocation
went toward community service," says Dr. Cooter about her goal. JeffHOPE,
providing health care to the homeless, and Bridging the Gaps, a community
health internship program for medical, nursing and allied health students,
offer the majority of community service positions. In the past year, the
department of obstetrics and gynecology, Pediatric Family Center and "Say
Yes To Health" offered community service work-study jobs as well.
JMC student Michelle Nanda, now in her second year of medical school and
the Work Study Program, sums up the value of the experience this way: "As
a student, it is difficult to stay motivated because I often spend more
time with books than with human beings. Working with people in the Bridging
the Gaps and 'Say Yes to Health' programs has helped me to remember that
I came to medical school to serve people."
For additional information about program criteria or initiating a federal
work-study position, call:
- Jefferson Medical College ­p; Susan Batchelor, 5-5855 l
- College of Allied HealthSciences ­p; Betty Lou Huston, 3-1959 l
- College of Graduate Studies ­p; George Glaze, 3-1232