College tuition is increasing each and every year – this is a fact. And even with the wide variety of grants and scholarships that are available to students and their families, many of them are still left to pay off a huge portion of the tuition on their own.
With that context in mind, we discuss the importance of having on-campus jobs for students. Contrary to popular belief, students do not take part time jobs on campus simply because they want the extra money to spend on the weekends with their college buddies. In reality, on-campus jobs are a necessity for students who come from low-income families that need to be able to help offset some of the cost of tuition.
Yes, they may be paying barely any tuition as a family, but again, that reflects their low-income to begin with. And even though a family could technically get by without their child taking on work to help pay for tuition, not doing so could leave a family in a precarious place when it comes to their financial security.
For context, research has shown that a majority of Americans do not have savings to cover a $1000 emergency, which is pretty scary to think about in general. So if a student can help his family out and cover some of the tuition costs through part-time work, that helps put his or her family closer and closer to actually being able to cover such an emergency if the situation ever arose.
The case for having part-time on-campus jobs is clear at this point. However, the reason we feel the need to advocate for this yet again is because there is a severe lack of such jobs available for students, especially in the Portland area. Most students who want to work are forced to find jobs off-campus rather than working somewhere on-campus. This is not good primarily because it lengthens a student’s commute to and from their job, giving them less time to actually study and focus on their schoolwork, which is the real reason they are attending college in the first place.
And for college administrators who don’t know how they can incorporate jobs on campus for their students, there are plenty of examples of how to do it. Have students help run your campus bookstore. Or some of the various eateries on campus. They can even work for administrators or college professors as assistants of some type. This is all on top of the typical jobs for teaching assistants that most schools have.
Even if a student from a low-income family isn’t qualified to be a teaching assistant for whatever reason, that shouldn’t stop them from being able to help offset the costs of their tuition, no matter how small. Rather than simply deny these students that opportunity for no good reason, schools must find a way to incorporate on-campus jobs for their students – although it may seem like a small thing for the school to do, it makes a huge difference for the students and their families.