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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 8, 1998
                             PRESIDENT CLINTON: 
                        HELPING ONE MILLION STUDENTS 
                       WORK THEIR WAY THROUGH COLLEGE

January 9, 1998

I challenge Congress to expand work-study and help one million young Americans work their way through college by the year 2000.

MEETING THE COMMITMENT EARLY. Two years ago, the President committed to expanding the Federal Work-Study Program to one million participants by the year 2000. Today, the President is proposing to meet that goal one year early. His FY 1999 Budget -- the first balanced budget in nearly 30 years -- will include a $70 million increase in Work-Study funding, bringing the total number of projected participants to just over one million in the 1999-2000 school year. This represents nearly a 50% funding increase since 1996.

What is Work-Study? The program provides undergraduate and graduate students with part-time employment to help meet their financial needs and to give them experience while helping the campus or surrounding community. Students at more than 3,000 colleges, universities, and trade schools receive Federal Work-Study funds as part of their financial aid packages. Generally, the employer picks up not less than 25% of the earnings, with the Work-Study program paying the remainder.

What is the proposal for FY 1999? President Clinton proposes to increase Federal Work-Study funds to $900 million in FY 1999, a $70 million increase over FY 1998. This proposal, the highest ever, would represent nearly a 50% increase in work-study funds over the last three years and, together with employer matching, would create roughly $1.1 billion in work-study aid to over one million students nationwide.

WORK-STUDY IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE AMERICA READS CHALLENGE. Building on the Work-Study program's long commitment to community service, in September 1996, the President called on colleges to commit some of their work-study students to help meet the goal of ensuring that all children can read well and independently by the end of third grade. To encourage college participation, the Administration waived the usual 25% matching requirement, so that the Federal Work-Study funds could be used for 100% of these work-study wages.

838 colleges and universities have accepted the President's America Reads Challenge and have pledged to send work-study students into surrounding schools and communities to provide extra reading practice for childen who need it. For example, in Houston, Federal Work Study students are providing tutoring through Houston Reads to Lead, a community-wide reading program. Houston Reads to Lead is a coalition of the Houston READ Commission, Interfaith Ministries, Houston Independent School District, San Jacinto Girl Scout Council, local libraries, and community learning centers.

The waiver will be expanded this year. To more effectively reach the parents of children from preschool through elementary school, the waiver of the 25% matching requirement will be expanded to include family literacy programs. Starting on July 1, 1998, the waiver will apply to work-study tutors who provide literacy services to children from infancy through elementary school and to their parents or caregivers who may need assistance with their own literacy skills. Research shows that children whose parents work with them on literacy skills during early childhood have a significantly better chance of reading well and independently.