Volume 92, Issue 25

Tuesday, October 20, 1998

coughing up debt


Work study on track

By Sabrina Carinci
Gazette Staff

After slight concerns about running out of money, it seems Western's work study and bursary programs aren't facing bankruptcy after all.

The success of the programs early in September was cause for concern for only a few days, said Christina Lederman, manager of financial aid services.

Lederman said she was forced to refrain from accepting and approving students who had applied to the programs because she thought the programs might go over their budget.

The problems began in September when, according to Lederman, over 1,000 students were approved for the programs rather quickly. "Within a couple of days we were able to start allocating again," she said.

"It's a challenge. We've got some learning to do," said Greg Moran, VP-academic at Western. "I imagine it'll take two or three years to perfect the distribution of so much money."

Of the $2.5 million within the budget, $1.1 million was allocated this summer, leaving $1.4 million for September to April.

Lederman explained the money allocated to the work study program is very fluid. "We have to monitor it carefully," she said.

The fluidity of the program is based upon the fact that students are given a projection of what the maximum amount of money they may earn will be. "This amount ranges from $1,000 to $2,000 per student," Lederman said.

"There are approximately 800 students actively engaged in working right now – and several hundred students have received bursaries," Lederman said.

With the approval of the deregulation of tuition fees announced this summer, the government also made it mandatory for universities to provide more grants to their financial aid services.

Dave Small, VP-finance for the University Students' Council, said he does not believe there will be any further cause for concern. "The university has a responsibility to offer bursaries – it has to according to deregulation," he said.

"We'll have a lot more money next year. As tuition goes up, so does student aid," Moran said.

Lederman said she does not foresee any future financial problems with student aid and hopes students have not been discouraged from applying for assistance because of any misinformation.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998