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GVSU among 26 colleges and universities pledging to support K-12 students with work study dollars

Grand Valley State University arch photo

Grand Valley State University recently joined 25 other colleges and universities from across the country in taking a pledge to provide academic support to K-12 students.

The commitment was made in response to a call to action by the U.S. Department of Education. GVSU was listed as one of the early adopters in May 10 press release from the department.

Colleges and universities were asked to allocate at least 15% of their Federal Work Study dollars, over two years, to community service programs, like tutoring.

The idea is to help K through 12 students who may be falling behind because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The work study program helps supplement wages for college students employed by the campus who have a financial need.

GVSU officials say the universitywill fulfill its commitment through its K-12 Connect program, which provides free virtual tutoring led by college students.

“It was an easy commitment for Grand Valley to make because of all [the] K-12 Connect work and the hundreds, and hundreds of students that we employ every term," Steven Hodas, the Executive Director of the GV NextEd Co-Lab said. GV NextEd Co-Lab oversees the K-12 Connect program.

"We’re already quite close to that 15% mark of Work Study dollars being devoted to community service, so we we’re really happy to be acknowledged for our leadership in that area,” he said.

Hodas said the K-12 Connect program, which started in 2020 to combat learning loss because of the COVID-19 pandemic, has helped students in nearly every school district across the state.

"Of course we pay well, and we support [college students], but it's just a very rewarding way to spend your time," he said. "We've been able to build these great relationships with the little kids...with the schools, and we've been able to offer the tutors really rewarding work."

The University of Michigan has also pledged to commit 15% of federal work study dollars toward supporting K through 12 students.