Students Struggle to Find On-Campus Jobs

When Corey Schon returned for his senior year the University of Central Florida in Orlando, his intention was to get a part-time job on-campus to provide himself with supplemental income. After answering what seemed like an endless amount of ads and countless job postings, he was able to secure one interview with the manager of a local campus coffee shop.

"When I arrived, there were several other students already filling out applications," Schon says, adding that his prior experience as a barista at Starbucks didnt help him land the position. Now, Schon is working for an off-campus food service company, a job that requires him to commute for 30-45 minutes each day.

"It was frustrating," Schon says, adding that hes continuing to keep an eye out for other on-campus opportunities. "I would take less pay to work in a much more convenient setting."

Unfortunately, Schon isnt the only student having difficulty securing on-campus employment. And many college representatives acknowledge the job market has changed.

"There are more students than there are jobs," Steve Irving, director of student employment at California State University in Chico, says. It doesn't mean it's impossible to find a job. It does mean that the market is more competitive."

What's contributing to the overcrowding is more complicated than it seems. Students seeking on-campus employment, generally speaking, fall into two different categories: those receiving federal work-study as part of their financial aid package, and those who aren't.

Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. However, unlike other federal aid programs, such as the Pell Grant, there's a cap on the funding available. This means that college financial aid officers can only offer as many opportunities as the money will allow, regardless of whether students meet the financial requirements or not.

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