Katelynn Singleton, Campus Carrier staff writer
This year, the Center of Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) began a new scholarship program open to upperclassmen. The LifeWorks Scholarship Program is open to students who are rising sophomores and above and is a need-based scholarship, and during the summer, students are able to work 40 hours a week, with 80% of their paycheck going to their tuition. During the school year, students work ten hours a week at their assigned placement, with only 50% going to their tuition.
One goal of the program is to help students who have some aid but have substantial need outside of that aid. Another goal is help alleviate any debt that upperclassmen may currently have, and to lower the amount they might have once they leave Berry, which might be a hindrance to them.
If students want to determine if they are eligible, they can turn to the Financial Aid Office for help. Junior Noah Isherwood, one of the 11 students in the LifeWorks program, says that he is a Presidential Scholar, but still needed extra aid.
“I had a relationship with financial aid, talking to them a lot and getting advice, and they put me on a shortlist for the scholarship,” Isherwood said.
Marc Hunsaker, the Dean of Personal and Professional Development, says that the Vice President of Enrollment Management Andrew Bressette, Vice President for Finance Brian Erb, and Chief of Staff Debbie Heida were all influential in developing the scholarship. Their goal was to see how they could continue to make Berry affordable to students.
“I think the LifeWorks scholarship really captures the ethos of Berry: wanting to make a world-class college education more affordable,” Hunsaker said. “That to me was very much what Martha was all about.”
Hunsaker says that students have been placed in one of three areas on campus: the Spires, groundskeeping or dining. Within these areas, they have been put into specialized areas. Students are still able to get another job on campus, as they only work ten hours a week during the school year. During the summer, many of the LifeWorks Scholars worked on the grounds team and remained on the team for the fall semester.
“Very often, when students get in these places, they come to realize how great it is, even if they wouldn’t have initially chosen it,” said Hunsaker.
The Director of the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship, Haley Smith, says that the program is not just intended to help students while they are at Berry.
“We are thinking, ‘how can we best serve them, not just now, but later?’” Smith said. “How can we set them up to be in the best place that they possible can when they leave.”
While the program seems similar to the Gate scholarship, there are a few key differences. Gate asks that upperclassmen work 16 hours per week during the academic year, while LifeWorks asks for 10 hours per week. Additionally, LifeWorks only has 50% of a student’s paycheck going to their direct cost. Isherwood describes LifeWorks as “Gate’s younger cousin”.
“We do the same work, but we don’t have to do all of the professional development stuff,” Isherwood said.
During spring semester, the CPPD will begin evaluating how the program has gone this year and any changes that need to be made.
With COVID-19 forcing job markets to become increasingly competitive, both Hunsaker and Smith are confident that the LifeWorks Scholarship will help students feel prepared once they graduate. Students in the LifeWorks program will have been able to gain professional skill and experience that will help them the moment they leave the Berry Bubble.