ASA seeks subsidized job experience

By Beth Silver

Arizona Daily Wildcat

PHOENIX Students supporting a bill to create 300 state-subsidized internships will have a tough fight to get a hearing in the state Senate.

As a part of their move to a more conservative bent on financial aid, student lobbyists are supporting a bill that would make students work for their state aid.

But apparently it is not conservative enough.

Sen. John Huppenthal, R-Chandler, the Senate Education Committee chairman, said it is unlikely he will hear the proposal for the $400,000 per year program. In fact, he said he is unwilling to hear anything that requires a new state appropriation.

"This should be accomplished within the basic budgets of the universities. I don't think the Legislature should handle it," he said.

And if the program to give needy students state-supported jobs stalls at his level, the bill is dead, he said.

The Arizona Students' Association introduced the idea to get students into jobs in their major field in the private sector. To entice companies to hire the students, the state would pay half the students' salaries.

Under the proposal, students would work up to 20 hours per week while in school and 40 hours per week in the summer. Allvin estimated students would earn $5-10 per hour, depending on the job.

Now the student lobbyists will have to convince members of the Appropriations Committee, the place where legislators decide how much money will go to legislation, said Paul Allvin, the ASA executive director.

If they can win there, he said they will get their hearing in the Education Committee.

"Anything that has an appropriation on it is going to be a hard sell," said Rep. Joe Hart, R-Kingman, Public Institutions and University chairman.

Hart said he supports the work-study concept and said it has a good chance of passing in the House of Representatives.

The bill's fate also rests on the private sector. If the student lobbyists cannot find enough companies willing to hire students, it is unlikely legislators will go for the program, Allvin said.

So far, the students have no one on board.

"It's an incentive for employers who are willing to help get kids through college," he said. "If you graduate from college with a degree in your hand and no experience, you are going to be far behind."

Every school year, needy students are left with $1,400 of unmet financial aid at the University of Arizona. At Arizona State University in Tempe, $874 is unmet and at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, $1,933 is unmet.

In-state tuition at the UA is $1,828. Nonresident tuition is $7,434.

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