Imagine being chosen out of two hundred applicants to be a student leader on campus. This position means that you will be acting as symbols for all that the school stands for. What would you want to be your payment?
Orientation Leaders on this campus are some of the more recognizable faces for incoming freshman. They are practically employees of the school, working six weeks in the summer, in addition to many other days. The days are long, hard, and tiring, and it has to be the love of the job and willingness to help which propels them to continue working.
As compensation, Orientation Leaders are paid in grants. Most Orientation Leaders profess they do not work in this position for the money- the reward from the students is more than enough most times. Nevertheless, they deserve the money owed to them.
For some Leaders, financial aid money previously rewarded was rescinded; for others, loans were decreased by the placement of this grant money. Many leaders had counted on that money.
Essentially, there were leaders who were not paid.
“I basically worked for free all summer as an Orientation Leader and it seems like the Financial Aid Office didn’t care and was horribly unsympathetic,” Orientation Leader Meron Teckle said.
Legally, Financial Aid cannot “over-award” a student in financial aid, and that was their justification in what happened to these Orientation Leaders in the end. This was very disconcerting to many.
This issue accounts for the faults within the financial aid system and the lack of power that school administrators have in situations like this one. This was not the fault of administrators involved with Orientation; it was the fault of the Financial Aid Office’s unwillingness to help.
Working more hours than one would want to figure out, Orientation Leaders offer their services. Work does not equal financial aid; orientation is not work study.
Sadly, the Financial Aid office has been very unwilling to help. This is an issue that spreads throughout the University’s systemas many resident students pay for the school’s health insurance- that is until they learn of this and have to fill out a waiver.
Administrators, on every level of Orientation, sided with the leaders. It is comforting within the St. John’s University community to know there are those in power who are willing to help. Knowing where to find the help √¢?” now, that can be the hard part.