Committee to review student jobs on campus

Though not always obvious, student employees play an integral role in College operations. While the Office of Financial Aid has long managed student employment, that task is currently being shifted to the Office of Human Resources, which has instated a Student Jobs Committee to assess both the transition as well as the student employment program itself.
The Committee, which has thus far met once and hopes to complete its work by February, will review many of the current student employment guidelines and discuss whether issues are dealt with effectively. According to Paul Boyer, director of Financial Aid, key issues that the committee will look at include the job assignment process for first-years, distinctions between stipend levels and hourly pay-rates, student retention levels, pay rate structures and student earning limits. Boyer said that no formal committee concerning student employment has been organized for over ten years.

Additionally, the Committee will consider the technical terms of the transition. Ifiok Inyang ‘11, one of the Committee’s student members, said that the group has thus far been concerned primarily with analyzing reasonable work expectations for students and hiring procedures for first-years.

According to Boyer, the transition to Human Resources is being made largely due to the similarities between issues affecting student employees and regular staff. “Policies and procedures should be fair and consistent,” Boyer said. “There is also a new on-line hiring procedure that exists in the Peoplesoft HR module which makes the oversight more appropriate to that department.”

Boyer said that now is an ideal time for taking a look at the structure of student employment since the current economic situation continues to appear bleak. While the number of first-year students receiving financial aid remains about the same as last year, campus budget cuts have become a concern.

This year, on- and off-campus jobs, especially for non-financial aid students, have been increasingly difficult to find as more students seek out fewer positions. According to Candace Marlow, assistant director of Financial Aid, she had some difficulty placing and finding jobs for first-year students earlier this year.

While budget cuts over the past year have eliminated a few student jobs, Boyer said that this has not resulted in excess demand for positions.

“All students that want to work, especially financial aid students with a campus job as part of their financial aid package, have been able to secure positions this fall,” he said.

In the past, the Office of Financial Aid has set very clear guidelines on how student employment is managed. Currently, all first-years are assigned jobs upon arrival on campus, while upperclassmen have the choice between staying with their job from their previous year and finding a new job on their own.

Financial aid students are given preference in hiring, as earnings from work-study constitute a portion of their aid packages. Earnings are capped at $1800 per year for first-years and $2100 per year thereafter. A full-time campus job requires at least six hours of work per week, though Financial Aid urges employers to require between six and seven hours of work per week for first-years, and eight to ten hours for upperclassmen.

Some of the students on the Committee said that on-campus work is relatively undemanding and does not interfere with academics, while others felt that monotonous jobs, such as those in Dining Services, or technically demanding jobs, such as those in OIT, could become burdensome to students.

Emily McTague ’12, who works at Schow, said she did not consider work to be time-consuming, but that other factors, such as sports, could make work schedules more difficult to manage.