Pasadena City College has received permission to pay Federal Work Study (FWS) students who work on campus, even while the campus is closed to prevent further transmission of COVID-19.

In addition, 8,000 PCC students will have their Pell Grants and all other financial aid funds available by March 27, according to Mathematics, Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) and More Math and Science (MAS2 ) representatives. 

Financial Aid payments have also been moved up. According to Alex Boekelheide, special assistant to the superintendent/president, the second wave of payouts will be sent out a month earlier than expected. This means that $14 million will be available to students by March 27. These steps are intended to assist PCC students in the rapid change of the campus closing.

At PCC, there are five types of aids that students can be eligible for: grants, student loans, scholarships, the California College Promise Grant, and FWS. 

Students who work in the FWS program can work up to 19 hours a week in on and off campus programs, according to the program page. Examples of work-study jobs include working in various offices on campus, working with private nonprofit organizations, and separate public agencies that deal with public interests. 

Managers may direct workstudy students to work remotely, but this depends on the needs of each division/department,” Boekelhide said. “[Payments] will be handled through the regular payroll system, just as if they had worked hours on the clock at the college.”

To be eligible for FWS, students must demonstrate financial aid need, be a permanent US citizen or eligible non-citizen, be enrolled in a minimum of six units, and meet certain academic requirements. 

After PCC announced they would be moving classes online and closing down campus, some FWS students have been concerned about how this would impact their financial aid. Initially, PCC officials were not sure about the legality of continuing to pay FWS students while campus is closed.

The California State Constitution, Article 16 Section 6, prohibits institutions such as PCC from making a gift of public funds. The California State Constitution states that institutions “shall have no power . . . to make any gift or authorize the making of any gift, of any public money or thing of value to any individual, municipal or other corporation[.]” 

However, on March 5, The U.S. Department of Education announced that they would be making “significant adjustments” in response to the coronavirus pandemic, there will be leniency in student loans and work study students.

The Federal Student Aid branch has also stated that institutions can continue paying FWS students wages, and that institutions can “continue to meet its institutional wage share requirement”

To receive more information, contact the Financial Aid office through a support ticket or read up on progress on the PCC Financial Aid website. PCC also is offering a variety of resources for students in need, from Social Services Support to food and clothing.

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