Thursday, September 21, 2023

Federal program expands work-study support at UTSA

Federal program expands work-study support at UTSA

MARCH 2, 2021 — UTSA is one of 190 institutions selected by the U.S. Department of Education to participate in a new program that allows them to pay work-study–eligible students for off-campus work experience.

The program advances the university’s Classroom to Career Initiative by allowing UTSA students to seek a broader range of employment opportunities that better align with their academic goals and career aspirations and ultimately providing them with a greater understanding of marketable skills needed in the workplace.

The Federal Work-Study Experimental Sites program is awarding UTSA an additional $700,000 annually in federal funding to support at least 100 students over the next three years.

“We are looking forward to increased partnerships with business leaders and the real-world experience they can bring to our students.”

Through this new initiative, participating institutions are granted waivers, which allow the use of federal work-study funds to support more students working off-campus, and for the first time allow them to pay students for work experiences required by their academic programs, such as apprenticeships, internships, externships and clinical rotations.

Student teaching is one example. “We are excited about this work-study off-campus opportunity and the support it will provide for our teacher candidates,” said Belinda Bustos Flores, associate dean of professional preparation and partnerships in the College of Education and Human Development. “Specifically, this funding will provide our teacher candidates’ financial support while they are engaged in yearlong clinical teaching, which is very demanding, and will offset the need to attain outside work.” 

The program helps to further UTSA’s Career FUEL Quality Enhancement Plan, which focuses on developing students’ marketable skills and career readiness through experiential learning. It will also benefit employers, since they will be able to engage with future graduates, have the ability to teach workplace competencies, and be able to offset the cost of hiring student employees.

“We are looking forward to increased partnerships with business leaders and the real-world experience they can bring to our students,” said Ginnifer Cie Gee, associate vice provost for career-engaged learning and director of the QEP. “We are also excited about the opportunities this will open for our students to gain career readiness experience while being supported financially.”

To be selected for the experiment, schools needed to show a strong record in Title IV administration and evidence that demonstrates strong standards of financial responsibility.

Learn more about how the division of Career-Engaged Learning at UTSA engages students in classroom to career exploration.

⇒ Students or businesses interested in this new opportunity should email the University Career Center at

This program is designed to help the Department of Education assess the benefits to students when they are paid for off-campus work study employment aligned with their program, as measured by student retention, graduation rates and improved employment opportunities. The experiment will provide important data to inform future policy proposals on Federal Work-Study reform.

Matthew Boerger

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of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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