America Reads is a federal work-study program that was set up by Bill Clinton. College students across the nation are participating in this program to help fulfill the national requirement for work-study.
Each college in the United States that is given money for work-study by the government must use 7 percent of it within the community. Students can choose to work at other community-based companies, such as the YMCA, a variety of hospitals or Habitat for Humanity.
“Sending students to do America Reads fulfills Quinnipiac’s requirement by the government,” said Carleen Roy-Butler, assistant director of community service and experimental learning.
America Reads was started five years ago, which was when Quinnipiac started sending students off-campus for work-study.
When students work off-campus, they get paid more for a couple of reasons, Roy-Butler said.
“The cost of transportation, the travel time and the arrangements to get there are all factors that are considered when deciding on fair-pay for students,” said Roy-Butler. “Plus, if all jobs were paid equally, most students would probably stay on campus because it’s more convenient.”
On the other hand, some students find it unfair that only work-study students can participate in the America Reads program and are paid more than students working on campus.
“I don’t think it’s fair, because I would love to work with the kids, but I wasn’t given work study,” said Bridgina Mukaida, a freshman undecided major. “More students should be able to work there too.”
Roy-Butler said that all students can participate in America Reads if they want to, but it would have to be on a volunteer basis.
Programs such as America Reads and America Counts, which is a similar program, are great experiences for students, Roy-Bulter said, especially those interested in teaching and working with children. Education majors are drawn to it, but there is no requirement in order to participate, except that the student must have work-study as part of their financial aid package.
According to Roy-Butler, this program is becoming more popular every year.
There is currently a waiting list for second semester, she said.
“America Reads is a great program,” said Samantha Smith, freshman political science major. “I really love working with the kids.”