Over 4,000 institutions participate in the Federal Work Study Program. This program provides funds for part-time employment to help needy students finance the costs of postsecondary education. For the fiscal year ending June, 2016, $1.16 billion was paid to students under this program. This was roughly the same as the prior two years. So what is the problem?



The problem is less and less students are participating. The participation rate has declined 7% from 2013 to 2016 using Federal Student Aid data from the Financial Aid Interactive. Further, the participation rate decline is across all sectors as shown by the following graph.


There is some question as to why less students are participating. Is a rebound in the economy and a booming labor market rendering this type of subsidy less relevant? Or is it, as this article suggests, a program that has not adjusted to the changing world we live in?

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