Learn and Earn program continues to thrive two years later

Natasha Breu

After nearly two years of existence, WKU’s Learn and Earn Scholarship Program continues to thrive.

Learn and Earn allows students to earn a scholarship for tuition by working part-time throughout the semester. The program partners with local businesses, and students have the chance to experience a variety of jobs including retail, food services and office work, said Leslie Witty, the project manager.

Witty said employers are looking for dedicated workers due to the high turnover of entry-level positions. With Learn and Earn, both the employer and student mutually benefit because a position is filled and the student gains valuable experience, Witty said.

Witty said the program is centered around benefiting students.

“Our main focus is always the student,” she said. “We are trying to help students afford to attend college, afford to stay in school and afford to graduate.”

Learn and Earn started in January 2016 and was originally based on WKU’s Glasgow campus for the first semester. It has since extended to the main campus due to high demand from students around Bowling Green, Witty said.

The program is open to undergraduate and graduate students seeking employment. Entry-level positions are available and students are paid an hourly wage, Witty said. After the program is completed, students are eligible for a scholarship covering 25 to 50 percent of that semester’s tuition.

Witty said as long as students are hired by an employer, remain in the program for the duration of the semester and maintain good standing, they will receive a scholarship from Learn and Earn that transfers into their WKU account. There are no added fees for participating in the program.

Witty said after the semester is over, the student and employer may come to an agreement to extend employment for future semesters. This may be an option in order to keep the current position filled.

Witty said the program does not guarantee employment or a scholarship. Learn and Earn makes recommendations for students seeking interviews, but it is the employer’s decision whether or not to hire the student. She said students who get interviews but do not obtain a job go back into the candidate pool until another opportunity arrives.

Rowan Michael, a student involved in the program, said she is thankful for the opportunities it has allowed her.

“It is because of the scholarships I have received each semester from Learn and Earn that I have not had to take out student loans,” Michael said. “For that reason, I consider myself very lucky to be a part of this program.”

Witty said she is happy with the program’s success, but she also hopes to accomplish long-term goals.

“I would like to see us have an average of 100 business partners per semester and our numbers of students utilizing this service increase dramatically,” she said.

There will be a Big Red Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 28, at The Club at Olde Stone, according to Learn and Earn’s website. Students can attend to find out more information about the program.

Students can apply for Learn and Earn at www.wku.edu/learnandearn. The deadline to apply for the spring and summer terms is March 28.

News reporter Natasha Breu can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]