This semester, work-study students are eligible for a $250 credit towards textbooks and necessary course supplies purchased at the Kenyon Bookstore, a change from last year’s $2,000 expectation package.
This new work-study credit comes as part of a wider reconsideration of the work study program, which President Sean Decatur announced in March, following Campus Senate’s semester-long review of student work. The review was prompted by students’ concerns over the ability to meet the $2,000 work-study allotment, given the limited number of jobs available with consistent hours. The changes reduced the expected work-study contribution of qualified students from $2000 to $1000 per year, while adding a $500 grant and a $250 Bookstore credit per semester.
Almost 700 students are eligible for the credit, and as of Tuesday afternoon, 575 had used some or all of the money available. If students do not use all of their credit this semester, the remaining balance will roll over to next semester, according to Bookstore General Manager Angus MacDonell.
MacDonell said the new system has worked smoothly, and that he and Director of Financial Aid Craig Slaughter have been able to quickly resolve all questions and concerns raised by students.
“I have had two students tell me that their professor is requiring a book that the professor didn’t ask the bookstore to stock, [and] we have ordered those books after consulting with the professors,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian.
However, some students are not happy with the textbook credit and how it was implemented. Many students purchase books and course materials from sources other than the Bookstore, often for lower prices. A used edition of Psychological Science, the textbook required for introductory psychology courses, is $121.50 at the Kenyon Bookstore. On Chegg, a used edition is $64.99, almost half the price.
“I used up almost all of the money on just two classes,” work-study student Zoë Packel ’22 said. “My money would have gone a lot further if I could’ve used the fund on eBay.”
Jack Seasholtz ’22, a work-study student, was also frustrated with the Bookstore credit. “I found this to be a poor substitute for the actual money I get from working,” he wrote in a message to the Collegian.
Some students appreciated the change, but took issue with aspects of its implementation.
“I think, in theory, it was a good idea, because I know a lot of work-study students who don’t actually have campus jobs because they’re hard to get,” said Sophie Wise ’23, another work-study student. “But, like I said before, it just wasn’t quite enough.”