Laura Coleman works in the Albertson’s Library on campus. Every day she helps students check out books and restocks shelves. Coleman obtained her student job through federal work study programs.
As a freshman music education major, Coleman’s job at the library allows her to make ends meet.
“This work study, it’s how I pay for my rent, my food and for extra stuff,” Coleman said. “I can’t get a job somewhere else because no one is hiring.”
Fulfilling the role of a student does not allow for an open work schedule and Coleman needed work that would help pay bills and fit her erratic class schedule.
Coleman and other Boise State students currently live off education programs that have experienced reductions as part of the recent $85 billion dollar federal budget sequestration.
According to the Pew Charitable Trust website, Idaho is ranked among the top five states most reliant on federal funding for education spending and will be hit the hardest by the recent across-the-board
Coleman isn’t happy about the possibility she may not have student employment opportunities and questions decisions made in Washington to reduce education spending.
“I think in general, education should be something that is left uncut because education is more important than a lot of things,” Coleman said.
In a world where most jobs require an educational degree, Coleman feels reducing education spending will limit opportunities for potential students and job seekers.
“I am getting an education so that I can have a career and make a life for myself,” Coleman said. “If they hinder me from doing that, it’s kind of messed up.”
Sequestration cuts came after 12 federal legislators in a bipartisan “Super Committee” failed to come to an agreement for federal budget reduction in November of 2011, as part of the Budget Control Act (BCA).
The BCA stipulated automatic federal spending cuts should the 12-member committee fail to enact their own.
The sequestration was intended to go into effect Jan. 2, 2012, but was delayed until this past March when Republicans and Democrats remained unwilling to cooperate on new legislation that would eliminate the BCA.
For now, no discussions about staff reduction have taken place, Dean of the Albertsons Library Peggy Cooper expressed recently.
“I haven’t heard or discussed anything with anyone that would indicate we are reducing our staff,” Cooper said. “We are planning to fill the same positions next year and move forward.”
In all, Idaho will forfeit approximately $3.7 million in funding for primary and secondary education for the 2013-2014 school year.
Boise State Associate Vice President for Communications and Marketing Gregory Hahn estimated the university will lose a very small number of work study positions.
“Their (Boise State’s) estimate is that the loss for work study will be about $8,600,” Hahn said. “So that’s like 2.6 less students receiving work study.”
In response to the recent sequestration, the White House recently released state by state breakdowns of education funding cuts. According to estimates, Idaho may lose 40 work study jobs.
Though the number is low compared to states like California and New York, who may drop nearly 4,000 student work study jobs, those students affected in Idaho will be forced to look for employment in a struggling private sector.
Junior health information management major Emily Harvey feels the federal government made mistakes when deciding to cut education funding in a country already attempting to provide quality schooling for it’s citizens.
“I think it should be something that, if anything, should be getting more funding,” Harvey said.
“I feel like education should be valued more highly. It’s more important than the government makes it.”