Students being part-time or full-time employees of their colleges or universities isn’t a recent trend! But there have been changes through the years, such as a slight drop in undergraduate students being employed in 2020 in comparison to 2015.
However, the reasons for being student employees have essentially remained the same, and many of these are likely familiar to you – offsetting college costs, developing relevant work competencies, and building your networks.
Aside from the benefits of on-campus employment for students, colleges and universities also benefit from student employees. Most accredited colleges and universities offer diverse types of student employment, too. Read on and find out more!
All About Student Employment
Most higher education schools all over the US are run by student employees. These people are dedicated to their roles in ensuring that everything operates smoothly.
The University of Miami, for example, has more than 5,000 student employees who play a crucial role in helping with the daily campus activities.
These committed individuals have an integral role in running the school’s operation, both on and off campus. According to one of the university’s officials, their student employees have been regularly helping their staff, faculty, and other learners, particularly during the past year.
From their libraries and wellness centers to their student center complex, the student employees have been instrumental in keeping them operational.
Different departments hire students to perform administrative tasks, while residence halls ask these learners to assist the residents. Furthermore, some student staff serves as teaching or research assistants to support the institution’s academic goals.
In so many ways, student-employee jobs go further than office work and facility management. Some fulfill supplemental roles that augment their classroom knowledge and develop their career aspirations.
One of the current students enrolled in a Health Science discipline is working as a front desk attendant at the swimming pool facility.
While the other, who is attending a similar program, is assigned to the wellness center. Most of them took relevant training activities to support their field of study and their job positions.
They believe that getting such training will assist them in performing effectively in their roles and serving other students better.
Some student employees have been given higher positions, such as managing a wellness center or supervising the student complex. For them, they treat their work as a springboard for their future career, acquiring meaningful working experience that will sharpen their leadership skills.
Benefits for You as a Student
Balancing your academic obligations with work responsibilities has physical and mental challenges, from missing out on social events to missing a few hours of sleep. But the advantages far outweigh the advantages, and thus, you should consider being an on-campus student employee.
Earn Supplemental Income
Getting a college education isn’t cheap, with the average annual tuition ranging from $39,723 to $10,423. But getting student employment can offset the cost of attendance by providing a source of supplemental income.
Since the income earned is typically given directly to the student employee, the money can be used for any discretionary expense (e.g., food and gas, books, and dates).
Students can earn an annual average income of $24,086 (i.e., $11.58/hour) and be required to pay appropriate taxes on their income. Even with the taxes, the money earned is useful in making ends meet, perhaps even improving the quality of college experiences.
If you have been awarded the federal work-study scheme as part of your financial aid package, student employment is also an excellent way of using it. In this case, there will be no difference in your paycheck and how you can use the money.
Maintain Your Grades
While time management is a constant juggling act for working students, being a student employee of your college has its academic benefits!
With drive and determination, your grades won’t suffer as much as you feared, not to mention that many faculty members are more accommodating.
The trick is to develop time management skills that will result in a good balance between your academic commitments and work obligations.
Most colleges and universities set the number of hours students can work on their on-campus jobs each week, which is usually 20 hours.
Being a student employee of your college means establishing connections you wouldn’t have made if you held off-campus jobs.
Through your on-campus job, you can establish meaningful and useful connections with your peers, faculty and staff members, and alumni. You can also ask for work references from your supervisors, and these are among the best entry-level jobs after graduation.
Develop Life and Work Skills
With students and part-time and full-time staff members as your co-workers, you will develop communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills – a step up from many off-campus jobs.
The transferable skills you acquire with on-campus jobs are attractive to employers, and technical skills learned on the job will reinforce your classroom learning, too.
With on-campus jobs on your resume, you also become more competitive in the job marketplace after graduation. Your reference letters will likely be positive.
Find Your Unique Interests
With your exposure to diverse peoples and their professions, you will expand your horizons which can result in a life-changing decision.
With each change in on-campus jobs or responsibilities, your mind will be opened to more possibilities, many outside your current interests. You may also be able to find an interdisciplinary approach to your field of study through these varied exposures.
There are other benefits, too, when you’re an on-campus student employee. You can save time and money on your commute, particularly when you live in on-campus accommodations or your work hours are between classes.
Your supervisors will likely be accommodating about your course load. Thus you can strike a good coursework-work balance.
Your College Benefits from Student Employees, Too
Student employment benefits colleges and universities when it’s operationalized effectively. For this reason, many institutions have promoted using the federal work-study (FWS) program with their institutionally-funded employment programs.
For one thing, gainful student employment provides students with better financial security that promotes their learning and persistence outcomes, career readiness, and graduation rate.
For another thing, colleges and universities can recoup their investments in their students through increased retention and graduation rates. There’s also the fact that universities can benefit from innovative ideas from their student employees.
Colleges and Universities with Student Employment Programs
There are many types of student employment programs in colleges and universities, including:
- The federal work-study program, part of FAFSA, where the federal government and the institution equally share the salary obligations toward the student employees
- Institutional positions are usually advertised and fully funded by the college or university. The jobs are usually hourly, part-time, and temporary, and with flexible working hours. There’s a wide range of jobs, too, from academic, administrative, and technology support to undergraduate and graduate assistantships.
There are also programs specific to the college or university, such as the Regents Service Program of Truckee Meadows Community College and the Lead Miami Program of the University of Miami.
Here are a few examples of student employment programs.
- The University of Miami employs over 5,000 students in various capacities, from academic to administrative support roles. JobX is where students go for available positions.
- Eastern University uses the Handshake platform to inform students about available on-campus jobs, but flyers are also posted around the campus and on the university’s news screens.
- Montclair State University allows its student employees to take 20-35 work hours per week depending on whether the term is in session or on break. Student and graduate assistantships, along with FWS employment, are available.
- Xavier University also uses Handshake for job and internship listings.
- Lincoln University has a Student Employment Program that includes FWS employment, institutional jobs, sponsored programs, and grants.
In conclusion, student employment isn’t for everybody, but everybody who engages in it will likely reap the rewards of their labor, both in the present and future.