As a parent, I can only imagine that it’s extremely difficult to send your child to college. It can be a financially and emotionally demanding journey, but one that’s well worth it in the end.
With that being said, something that can add stress on a student throughout this journey is the need to work while going to school to support themselves. However, finding employment, working, and graduating from college are far from impossible. In fact, working might even help your student’s GPA. Here is what you should know about student jobs:
Federal Work Study Programs
Federal Work Study Programs are programs that provide part-time employment for college and graduate students. These opportunities can be related to what your child is studying and can be on or off campus. If your child can find a way to make their work study opportunity relate to what they’re studying it can be incredibly valuable in resume building.
These opportunities pay minimum wage by the hour, but it’s possible that your child can earn more depending on the skill set required for the job. It’s required by law that your child is paid at least once a month, and the amount of hours that they will receive get depends on the total Federal Work-Study award. This award depends on when your child applies, your child’s level of need, and the university’s funding level.
How does your child qualify? Most students will have to complete the FAFSA in order for the federal program to determine level of need. They will also need to move fast to claim a job opportunity as they go fast.
If your student has not been offered a work-study opportunity in their financial aid package they should visit the financial aid office right away when they are on campus to apply to any jobs left. If they miss a deadline they may still be eligible to apply and receive a job opportunity next semester.
Other Opportunities for Employment
Local businesses in college towns frequently hire students as baristas, wait-staff, and cashiers. Your student can look around for help wanted signs or call local businesses to inquire as to job openings.
This may not relate to their field of study, but it can help them to make some money nonetheless. Also, if your child can score a job where you get tips, like a server or barista position, it’s also possible that they can earn a lot more money than minimum wage. There is the opportunity for more hours if your child needs them if they search for employment outside of their university as well.
It’s also possible that they can also work on campus outside of the federal work study program. I was once employed at our campus dining hall, and they worked around my class schedule and provided me with a decent amount of hours every week.
Many students also work for themselves teaching music lessons, tutoring, or completing yardwork and other services. By working for themselves students can maintain a flexible schedule as well as hone their skills.
It May Actually Help Your Student Earn a Higher GPA
Working 20 hours or less in college is associated with a higher GPA. Studies show that the average GPA for a student who didn’t work was 3.04, and the average for a student who did work 20 hours or less was 3.13.
It is important that your child doesn’t over commit themselves. The average GPA for a student working more than 20 hours a week was 2.95.
Every student is different, and if your child isn’t one for multi-tasking then they definitely should put school first, after all it’s why they’re at the university in the first place!
Overall, the reason your child is in school is so that they can pursue a career in a field that excites them. However, it’s hard to get there without working a couple dead end jobs in between. Regardless of if your child can find something that correlates with their field through a work study program or ends up bussing tables at the local restaurant, they are building work ethic and character all while working towards a degree and that’s something any parent can be proud of.