Work-study offers financial possibilities


By Marion Rhodes

One thing unites all UNO students — they always need money.

The ways to earn some extra cash on the side are endless, ranging from waitressing to freelancing.

UNO offers its students yet another alternative. How does making money while getting an insight into the reality of your field of study sound?

Like many other universities, UNO offers federal work-study opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students with financial need. As part of the financial aid package, work-study is federal aid earned through part-time on-campus or off-campus employment. The program, open to all students who are enrolled at UNO for at least one credit hour and are eligible for financial need, encourages community service and work related to the course of study.

Students may be confused with the difference between being a student worker and a work-study student. Emily Muckerheide, career counselor at the UNO Career Center, explains it this way: “A student worker is any student who is working on campus. A work-study student has to qualify through financial aid, which means he has to fill out a FAFSA before. It’s a separate category and not everybody is eligible.”

Muckerheide says the interest in work-study is very high at UNO. The program offers many advantages for the students.

The employers understand that school has priority for the students, so they allow flexible work schedules. Also, the earnings are treated as income exclusion for future FAFSA application processing purposes. Since most of the jobs are on campus, there is no commuting time between school and work.

On-campus work opportunities are positions within the different departments at UNO and include clerical assistant work-study, working at the child care center, teacher assistant work-study or tutoring.

Current work-study job openings are posted on The Student Job Board at the first floor of the Eppley Administration Building, just outside the Career Center or on the Student Employment Homepage at The Web site provides a list of positions with a brief description and the rate of pay. The listings may change over the year, so it’s worth visiting the site several times during a semester.

Off-campus work-study is limited to the America READS program, a program administered by the College of Education in partnership with the Omaha Public Schools. Selected students go out to assigned elementary schools and tutor individual children in grades one to three who need additional assistance in developing reading skills.

Senior Antonio Garcia has been participating in the America READS program since last December. For $8 an hour, he will tutor at Highland Academy three times a week during this semester.

The secondary education major is all about the program. He says the experience has taught him a lot.

Garcia says through working with diverse and sometimes difficult children, he has learned different strategies how to get them interested in what he’s doing with them.

“I’ve learned how children think, which I’ve never really paid attention to before,” he says.

When Garcia and the other America READS tutors go to the elementary schools, they work with individual children in half-hour sessions. They read books and pick out vocabulary words that are unfamiliar to the tutor students. They may also let the students describe the structure of the story.

“I think it’s great that UNO gives you that opportunity to work with children,” Garcia says. “They’re otherwise hard to find.”

Students who are interested in tutoring for the America READS program have to go through an interview process. If they are selected, OPS provides training for the tutors. The tutors can work between five and 15 hours a week.

UNO has been participating in the work-study program since 1969. Work-study students at UNO earn an hourly wage of at least the current minimum wage and are paid biweekly. Through an electronic funds transfer system, the students receive their earnings directly into their checking or savings accounts.

Work-study students usually work between 10 and 20 hours a week. However, the amount a student earns cannot exceed his or her total work-study award.

More information about work-study is available from the Career Center or the Financial Aid Center. Students who are interested in becoming an America READS tutor can contact Rebecca Schnabel at the College of Education at 554-2718 or e-mail to

*This article includes information from the UNO Career Center’s Web site.


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