Most of us in college can say that at some point in our lives we have probably been underpaid and overworked. Whether it be at a summer job, an on-campus job, a full-time job, whatever the case may be, it isn’t often that you hear someone of our age say they are content with the pay they receive.
But something especially interesting to look at is student hourly workers. According to the Keene State College website, 25 percent of KSC students participated in student hourly or work study employment last year. On-campus employment opportunities for students sounds great in theory.
But what’s the catch? The website stated, “Please remember that even if you are eligible for work study you are not guaranteed a job on campus. We post a list of currently available employment opportunities, but there is a limited number of positions available. Also remember that if you do receive a work-study job, you will receive a check for your wages, and it’s your responsibility to apply that money towards your academic expenses.
“The college does not automatically apply your wages toward your tuition or any other KSC fees.” What is frustrating to many students is that even though they are eligible for work study, it can oftentimes be difficult to actually have an on-campus job as the opportunities are limited.
On top of that, those who do receive jobs often have very limited hours. “Funds from the Work Study Program enable eligible students to work an average of 10 hours per week each semester while classes are in session, and up to 40 hours per week at other times. The number of hours a student may work per week depends on their award and the rate of pay they receive for their work,” stated the website.
Now, for a moment imagine trying to pay rent, buy groceries, pay bills and put gas in your car, among all other living expenses under these types of work conditions. Seems pretty difficult, right? Many of these student hourly positions are minimum wage pay. We all know by now that minimum wage is barely enough to survive off of.
The Equinox believes that how much you get paid should match whatever job you’re working. It goes without saying that some jobs are more demanding than others. Sitting at a desk is certainly still a job, however it isn’t as labor intensive as being a maintenance worker for example. So individuals working those two jobs should be paid according to the amount of work they perform.
Of course working off-campus is always an option. However, that often complicates things. For example, just a few years ago, first-year students were not able to have cars on campus.
Without a vehicle, it can be difficult to get around especially during the winter months. Working off campus can also be difficult as many employers have a hard time scheduling hours around classes and homework. Life is all a balance, we realize that. But there comes a point when students can only handle so much.
After all being students should be our first priority. Earning some cash to pay rent and buy groceries or pay gas in our cars shouldn’t be as difficult as it has been. Just because we are students doesn’t mean we should be taken advantage of. Let’s face it, if tuition is going up, rent is going up, so why isn’t our pay?