Student Financial Aid:

Characteristics of Jobs Provided Through the College Work-Study Program

HRD-92-72BR: Published: Feb 21, 1992. Publicly Released: Feb 21, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information concerning jobs funded through the College Work-Study (CWS) Program, focusing on the extent to which the CWS Program: (1) supports on-campus and off-campus employment; (2) provides jobs related to students' educational or vocational goals; and (3) provides community service jobs that meet the needs of low-income individuals.

GAO found that: (1) during the 1989-1990 award year, almost 95 percent of students' CWS earnings nationwide were from on-campus jobs; (2) students earned $642 million from on-campus jobs and about $37 million from off-campus jobs for the 1989-1990 award year; (3) the off-campus earnings were almost entirely from jobs in the nonprofit or governmental sector; (4) 14 of the 20 educational institutions surveyed estimated that at least 50 percent or more of their on-campus jobs were clerical or low-skilled in nature; (5) off-campus jobs were more often directly related to students' fields of study than on-campus jobs; (6) only about 0.2 percent, or $1.3 million, of CWS 1989-1990 earnings nationwide went to students with Community Service Learning (CSL) jobs which served the needs of low-income individuals; (7) only 4 of the 20 institutions surveyed had CSL programs during the 1989-1990 award year; (8) institutions that had CSL programs devoted between 1.1 percent and 3.6 percent of their available federal CWS funds to CSL earnings; (9) 15 institutions stated that they did not establish CSL programs primarily because providing 90 percent of earnings from their federal allocation in CSL jobs would diminish the amount of CWS aid that they could provide to other students; and (10) 16 institutions estimated that some of their CWS jobs provided service to low-income individuals, and 2 institutions stated that none of their CWS jobs aided low-income individuals.

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