While the term “work study” implies that students who are eligible for specific on-campus positions will be able to do their homework while they are on the clock, that is not the case for all work study jobs.
Associate Director of Financial Aid Operations Deborah Nichols weighed in on the work-study process.
Nichols revealed that only a portion of students are able to become eligible for work-study, while others are able to apply for on-campus jobs through student-hourly.
“A student finds out if they are eligible for work study through their Expected Family Contribution. When students submit their FAFSA, there is a specific range of EFC that will determine if a student qualified for work-study,” Nichols said.
Nichols said that the purpose of a work-study position is not necessarily for students to be able to do their homework while they are on the job, but for their work schedules to be more flexible to work with their academic schedules while also being able to earn a bit of money.
“It is wrong for students to assume that they can do their homework
while they are at their work-study job. Work-study positions are similar to regular jobs that students would have out on the town with private companies. Through work-study, students are gaining experience in doing a job while balancing their education,” Nichols said.
She continued, “Another important thing about a work-study job is that it is not so much that students can do their homework on the job, but rather that the school is aware that when midterms and finals come up, hours can get changed.”
Nichols added that there is a limited number of work-study jobs that allow students to do their homework.
“It is up to the supervisors of work-study jobs about whether or not students can do their homework. If you can do your job and be able to study too than it is usually okay. If not, students need to accept that they are there to do a job,” Nichols said.
In terms of what students may get out of the work-study experience, Nichols said that she believes students are gaining valuable real-world experience and time management and communication skills that will benefit them in their future careers.
“When I went back to school I got a work-study job in the Financial Aid Office. I eventually got an office position and worked my way up to become the Associate Director of Financial Aid Operations,” Nichols said.
Senior Emily Conrad stated that she has had her work-study job as a facility supervisor at the KSC Recreation Center for four years.
“My responsibilities at my job include filling out memberships for faculty/staff/alumni. I am also in charge of swiping IDs for access to the facility and give out sport equipment and cubby lockers,” Conrad stated.
Conrad stated that the Recreation Center does not allow work-study staff to do their homework while they are on the clock, even when their shifts are four hours long on the weekends.
“At times work can interfere with my school work. I have five classes this semester and usually work in between them during my free time which can cause difficulties in getting assignments done, or studying,” Conrad stated.
Conrad added that the gym did not always have a no-homework policy for work-study staff, “When I started this job freshmen year, the staff was allowed to do homework. When the rules changed, I was shocked and disappointed. Although I was working, it was nice to have the time if there was downtime to be able to study or do some homework.”
With juggling work, academics and a social life, Conrad stated that her time management skills have become stronger throughout her four years at KSC.
“I have to make daily schedules to know when I can fit in school work and making time to actually use the gym and exercise. In terms of having a social life, I have to really plan on staying up late some nights throughout the week to be able to enjoy the weekends,” Conrad stated.
In terms of seeing other work-study students who are able to do their homework while they are working, Conrad stated she finds it frustrating that they can and she cannot.
“I know of a few students who have work study jobs that allow homework while working. I find it frustrating that some campus jobs do not allow homework when we are here to be students first, but then some jobs can be lenient about doing school work,” Conrad stated. Although Conrad is amongst the group of work-study students who cannot do their homework, senior Rebecca Marquis revealed that her job in the President’s Office does.
Marquis said that she has had her work-study job as a Student Assistant in the President’s Office for two years.
“My duties mostly include clerical work. I help clean up and organize around the office, run errands, answer phones and take messages, help out with campus wide mailings, update files, etc.,” Marquis said.
Marquis added that her job is pretty flexible in terms of doing homework while she is at work and that her boss has always told her to bring work with her in case they have a slow day.
“Sometimes I have been pretty stressed out about getting things in on time when I am at work. My work schedule doesn’t interfere with everything as much as it just adds to my day. When I work it just makes my days pretty long going from work in the morning and then straight to classes for the rest of the day,” Marquis said.
Although Marquis is allowed to work on her assignments at her job, she said that it is still necessary to prioritize her time between her course load, work schedule and friends.
“When I am allowed to do homework at work, I have to make sure that all my other tasks at work are done. If something comes up I have to put my homework aside and do my job, which makes something like reading or studying hard to do in the office, but I am lucky enough to be able to bring things into work on,” Marquis said.
She continued, “Academics come first obviously. I always make time for studying and getting homework done before I let myself do anything else with friends or clubs.”When she first started her job at the President’s Office, Marquis said that she did not expect them to allow her to do homework during downtimes.
“Being able to work on homework while I am at work has definitely helped me stay on top of my academics. If I weren’t allowed to work on stuff I think I would struggle a lot more with getting everything done on time and done well. Especially with my senior seminar classes, I have a ton of reading to get done each week so being able to do that while I am at work is a blessing,” Marquis said.
Brogan Wessell can be contacted at Bwessell@kscequinox.com