Student workers need scholarships, shorter hours

Jobs in college overwork students, university should provide more support



WSU students prepare food at Freshens in the CUB. Their position is one similar to many other students at WSU.

ALEX BIVIANO, Evergreen columnist

WSU rewards many students with various merit-based scholarships and should have working students in that category as well.

There is a different college experience for everyone; some students need to work upwards of 40 hours per week at their job while others do not have to work at all. The university needs to remedy the inequality of free time between students who don’t work through college and those who do.

The time management structure that WSU preaches is two hours studying out of class for every hour spent in class. Students already have a full-time job with a full course load of 15 credit hours a week.

This course load leaves students with jobs working overtime to put food on their table.

The Federal Work-Study Program, while providing for some select positions, does not extend to as many as it should. Even when it is provided, it is often after money from other sources has been considered. This leaves both those with and without Work-Study support in a heap of debt.

Despite this, working in college is a positive endeavor for many.

The advantage stops when work interferes with academics. A young adult’s independence in college should evoke excitement for the post-grad world rather than dread. College is a place for opportunity and should give every student the chance to achieve social mobility.

The administration believes students are not entitled to the ability to attend university-hosted events and programs if they fall outside one’s class time, not accommodating to job schedules.

“A student’s tuition only goes to curriculum that advances their degree,” said Karen Fischer, associate dean of students at WSU. “Everything else is based on their decision to attend.”

Fischer is right in the fact that tuition does not cover on-campus events. Every student at WSU pays mandatory fees which fund many of the educational experiences that make WSU the university it is.

Situations that require a heavy workload force students to miss many of the enriching opportunities on campus, inaccessible due to the lack of compensation in comparison to the time commitment.

An example of an opportunity like this is working for The Daily Evergreen. This is the best job opportunity I could have as a collegiate aspiring journalist, and I truly love doing it.

The problem that arises is that the majority of my compensation comes in experience rather than money. Students should be encouraged and enabled to take the jobs that benefit them the most after graduation, not just the ones that pay the bills.

“Many journalism jobs pay per article, so this kind of experience will help students in the long run,” Fischer said.

The current system only increases the divide between the haves and the have-nots. At a time when divisiveness is seemingly more pronounced than ever, the illusion of equality is not enough to make society a better place.

Establishing practices that careers use should be encouraged. However, there is a better way to do this rather than forcing many students to struggle or turn down an opportunity because of finances.

In order to combat the inequality created by the unique upbringings that brought people to this university, a merit-based scholarship should be established so that students are not required to work more than 20 hours per week.

20 hours a week is far from a cake walk and will still leave students void of certain chances, but it is a huge improvement over what some students are currently going through.

A working student scholarship should charge by a modest monthly stipend that is enough to fill gaps between what working twenty hours a week does not cover.

If WSU steps up it can truly become the heroic resource that many students need. Shortcomings are abundant, but the university has the power to create a new, stronger generation of Cougs with these changes.