Students on work-study who can no longer work in their on-campus jobs will continue to receive their average weekly wages until they have exhausted their work-study allotment, Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Amin Gonzalez ’96 announced in an all-campus email on April 2. According to Gonzalez, students will receive their first paycheck on April 10. 

“[Students] will receive the income they were receiving prior to the move to remote learning, up to their maximum work-study allocation for the semester,” Gonzalez wrote. “Their payment will be based upon an average of the total amount of pay they already received for the spring semester (i.e., earnings received from Dec. 16 through March 22), divided by the number of paychecks the student received, up to the student’s work-study allocation.”

According to Gonzalez and Director of Financial Aid Bob Coughlin, roughly 1,100 students are on work-study this semester. Gonzalez and Coughlin estimate that 10% of students on work-study have already exceeded their allocations and would therefore not be affected by this policy. 

“32% of [work-study] students never worked,” Gonzalez and Coughlin wrote in an email to The Argus. “Of the remaining work-study students who held positions this spring, 90% are either continuing to work remotely or will be eligible for scheduled payments.”

The Office of Financial Aid does not have an estimate of how many jobs have moved to a remote function or how many positions might be offered as a result of this change, as those decisions are up to each department. Gonzalez encouraged each student to reach out to their supervisor, if they haven’t done so already, to see if their work can be done remotely. 

What will happen with wages for students’ jobs, especially for students on work-study, has been a pressing question since the University announced that it would be moving to remote learning on March 11. Many have been frustrated about a lack of communication from the administration before last Thursday’s announcement, as they were uncertain about their own wages for the rest of the semester. 

Part of the initial delay was a question of whether or not federal work-study would be paid out at all. The University was waiting on guidance from the federal government about if it would be legal to pay out students’ work-study allocations, which was eventually released on March 20, nine days after the University announced its move to remote learning. 

Further delay in announcing the policy, Gonzalez and Coughlin wrote, came down to the need to develop a workaround with the current system. 

“Once the policy was finalized, processing pay for unearned work, an unprecedented situation, added additional technical complexity,” they wrote. “I am thankful for the team that has worked tirelessly these past few weeks to successfully implement a plan into action.”

Gonzalez added that the Finance Office and Information Technical Services worked to adapt the current timekeeping system. 

Even with the policy to pay out up to students’ work-study allocations, many are still finding themselves in challenging financial situations. 

“My average income per week from doing work study and just my job on campus was around $200,” Melisa Olgun ’20 told The Argus. “And so when Wesleyan initially announced its closure, I had immediately calculated what my losses would be due to all of that…. With nine extra weeks, I was facing a pretty big deficit in my income. And I think what was really frustrating was that it took so long for students to hear back about what was happening.”

“When it was announced that the only compensation they’re going to do is an averaging of hours from the past few weeks, a lot of students, including myself, were just really frustrated with the response,” Olgun added. “There are students who are work study who exceed their work study—who do this routinely…. And students who are consistently exceeding their allotment are doing it for a reason. They’re not doing it for pocket money—they’re doing it to save money to pay off their loans.”

Olgun said that she is continuing to work remotely for the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life for five hours per week, in addition to picking up hours from the Office of Admission and receiving a few hours in pay per week from KidCity. 

Shirmai Chung ’22 is similarly facing a cutback in her hours. She told The Argus that she typically works about 17 hours per week, working for Instructional Media Services, picking up shifts as an usher through the Center for the Arts, and working as a co-coordinator for EcoFacilitators through the Office of Sustainability. Now, she said she’s working eight hours a week through the Office of Sustainability.

“The problem is there are some international students who are technically not on financial aid through Wesleyan, but they had received merit scholarships from other external organizations or from Wesleyan themselves—for example, the Freeman scholarship,” Chung said. “My main concern is international students who are on scholarships who wouldn’t benefit, and also students who have already fulfilled the work-study allotment that need income, would not get anything from the reimbursement program.” 

Chung told The Argus that the University’s Office for International Student Affairs (OISA)  has told international students who are moving overseas that they can work remotely without worrying about their visas or work capabilities. OISA did not respond to The Argus’ request for comment. 


If you have a story to share about changes to your employment, reach out to The Argus. 


Hannah Reale can be reached at

Comments are closed