Challenges of Non-Work Study
Finding a job on campus can be a challenging process for students, whether or not they receive work-study funds.
According to Lesley Bonds, Career Counselor and Student Employment Coordinator at Scripps, certain protocol exists that structures the hiring process for on campus jobs. After the Office of Financial Aid works with a federal work-study coordinator to finalize financial aid packages, students that qualify for work-study work with Scripps’ Career Planning and Resources (CP&R) to find on-campus jobs.
“Federal work-study itself is a program where funding does not come from departments, it comes from the government,” Bonds said. “Based on need, students work with their supervisor to determine how many hours they will work per week.”
CP&R estimates that 600 Scripps students have on-campus jobs; this includes work and non-work study students and students with multiple jobs. A common misperception is that students who qualify for work-study are required to find employment. In reality, work-study is not mandated and does not guarantee jobs to qualifying students. Work-study students’ pay does not come from the budgets of the departments that employ them, but through federal funds that are determined by a department based on how much work that department needs students to complete.
“Non-work study positions get lumped into certain departments that have a large need [for student employees],” Bonds said. “Some other higher responsibility positions and people who do their own programming just want the most competitive applicant pool, but with the way the economy is right now, it simply isn’t a luxury that a lot of departments have.”
Tiernan Field House director, Tamsen Burke, hires about 60-70 student employees per year.
“Of that total, we try to work in a 70 percent work-study, 30 percent non-work study capacity,” Burke said. “Students have the opportunity to work at the front desk, be programmers, lifeguards, and we actually have two of our building manager positions being held by work study.”
Work-study students work between seven to ten hours at this particular department.
Ellen Pelos, SC ‘16, is one of the few non-work study students who has a job working for the Scripps Phonathon. Pelos first heard about the Phonathon at meet and greets in her area.
“[The fact that it accepted non-work study students] was kind of the appeal of it; there’s so few jobs that do that,” said Pelos.
Two weeks before Pelos set foot on campus, she was already perusing The Gateway, searching for jobs that accepted non-work study students, which she described as “really, really hard” because of their rarity. Besides the Phonathon, she also applied to Tiernan Field House and Scripps College Academy, a tutoring program for middle and high school students in Claremont.
Pelos’ search for a job was driven by her desire to earn money and garner work experience.
“Even though I’m not on financial aid, I’m not getting support from my parents for day-to-day things [besides tuition]. I need to build up my resume for summer internships and jobs and I think it’s a good experience.” Pelos said.
CP&R understands the difficulty faced by non-work study students to obtain an on-campus job. In CP&R’s blog, Beyond the Elms, sophomore Laurel Schwartz provided tips to aid non-work study students in the on-campus job search. Schwartz’ first piece of advice to students was to do what Pelos did: search the Gateway.
“Look at all the different positions that are available, even if they are work-study,” she encouraged.
Schwartz admitted that it can be tough for non-work study students to find certain jobs they want, but networking and working for volunteer positions can lead to employment opportunities in the future.
Bonds attributes the difficulties non-work study students face in finding jobs to the lack of knowledge of their resources. Bonds is working to include every available job on The Gateway online website for students to have access. Additionally, the CP&R office is making it a priority this year to inform students of their options early on, to encourage on-campus networking, and to urge students to begin the job search early. Bonds’ last piece of advice to non-work study students searching for on-campus employment is “to advocate for themselves. To be open minded, to use the Gateway, and not to take job descriptions at face value.”
Though many small jobs on-campus may be reserved for work-study students, opportunities do exist for non-work study students across the 5Cs, if they only take the initiative to look for them.