WASHINGTON – The education budget enacted Oct. 1 will pump an additional $214 million into Work Study grants for college students next year – including $340,000 to the University of Maryland’s flagship campus at College Park.
The increase – to $830 million – will help an additional 300 students at the College Park campus cover college costs next year, said Julia Sybrant, who coordinates the university’s Work Study program. This year, 600 students got grants to pay for their supervised work on or off campus.
Awards averaged $1,500, Sybrant said.
Students at 54 other public and private campuses in Maryland also will benefit from the grant increase, said Stephanie Babyak, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Education.
In addition, if President Clinton’s fiscal year 1998 budget is passed, universities receiving Work Study grants would get more money if students work in the new America Reads program. A requirement that the schools contribute 25 percent toward the students’ Work Study grants would be waived.
America Reads enlists businesses, libraries, community service organizations and college students, among others, to help teach youngsters in grades K-3 how to read. Tutoring sessions are held after school, during the summer and on weekends.
The University of Maryland at College Park will definitely have Work Study students participate in the reading program, officials said. Campus President William Kirwan is a strong supporter of it. He was among 20 university heads picked by Clinton to serve on a committee to drum up support for it.
“We’re meeting a very important social goal,” Kirwan said.
Clinton wants 1 million volunteer tutors to take part in America Reads, including 100,000 of the nation’s college students with Work Study grants.
“We want [work study] to be a program that makes a difference,” Kirwan said.
It has made a difference for Gretchen Brown, 26, a doctoral student in government and politics who pays for tuition at the University of Maryland with loans and a Work Study grant.
“This has been so beneficial,” said Brown, an assistant in the office that coordinates the Work Study program at the university. She said she could not have afforded to get her degree without the grant. -30-