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Cutting College Costs: Work-Study

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All this week, Fox 8 Reporter Lorrie Taylor is helping you cut costs while getting your college education.

23-year-old Esther Bonilla is studying journalism and mass communications at Cuyahoga County Community College and yet, her education doesn’t stop there. 

She is also holding down a part time job while never leaving the Parma Campus.  Esther was hired as a Student Ambassador through Tri-C's work study program.

"You get paid hourly and it's really up to you if you want to put that money towards your tuition or a savings account or your checking account," she told Call for Action Reporter Lorrie Taylor.  

There are about 200 positions across the college.  According to Angela Johnson, Executive Director of Enrollment and Financial Aid, no matter where a student goes to college, positions go fast so it’s important to apply early.

"It’s a part of the student's financial aid package, so when students apply for financial aid every year, they could receive a work study award based on various criteria," said Johnson.

Johnson says positions are part time and typically pay minimum wage.

"Sometimes we connect students with experiences close to their major,” said Johnson, “They learn a lot about work ethic and being on time and service and those kinds of things."

Students are required to interview for the positions they want.  Those who are in charge of hiring look for similar qualities in all candidates, according to Johnson. 

"We're looking for someone who's committed to the college, who's committed to working hard, learning from that experience," she said.

Bonilla fits the profile of a perfect work-study employee. 

She’s upbeat, enjoys helping people and values the education she’s receiving at Tri-C.  She told Taylor she loves the experience she’s received as a Student Ambassador; it has forced her to become more outgoing.  She also said she saves money on gasoline because she doesn’t drive to work. 

"They basically work around your classes, you pick your classes and whatever is left over, then that's for your work study," she said.

Bonilla said her work-study position takes the stress out of pursuing her degree while holding down a job, "It's great, I'm so happy I applied for it, I encourage every student to do it."