The administration recently announced that student workers’ hours will be limited to no more than 20 per week starting in the fall of 2017, and the pilot program to test out the policy will start next semester.
What prompted administrators to limit how many hours students work on campus?
Apparently, they weren’t in compliance with IRS codes and FICA regulations.
However, Lorretta Holloway, interim vice president of enrollment and student development, said at an SGA meeting the decision was also based on concerns for student health and academic success. She said she was worried working too much could negatively impact their schooling.
Additionally, administrators have observed other universities coming under scrutiny for “going over the edge with the law,” she said.
We at The Gatepost understand the administration needs to comply with the law, but we are concerned about how this will negatively impact students.
According to Holloway, the report from the Student Enforcement Task Force found there are currently 668 students with on-campus University jobs. The report also stated 246 students had two or more jobs. Thirty-six students work 25 to 29 hours per week, and 46 students work 30-plus hours per week.
Although this may seem like a small percentage of FSU’s total population, the convenience and reliability of being able to work on campus is at risk for everyone.
Instead of students staying on campus and contributing to campus life, there is a high possibility of them leaving FSU student jobs behind for work at other companies, such as stores at the mall and the many businesses on the Route 9 strip.
The fact is students have to pay for college.
Many students cannot rely solely on their families to pay for their tuition, food, books, housing, health insurance, living expenses, clothing, transportation and much, much more.
They have to work.
We at The Gatepost believe the implementation of this policy will greatly inconvenience students. First of all, several student workers will now be competing for off-campus jobs in the area, and some of these businesses are not keen on hiring college students due to their class schedules or lack of experience. Additionally, many students do not live in the area during breaks.
Secondly, students will be spending more time commuting to and from off-campus jobs, and many of the jobs offered on campus allow students to spend time studying while working, which is not a luxury offered by most off-campus jobs.
There seems to be a worrying lack of understanding about students’ needs.
Let’s be real here: it makes us wonder whether the real worry is the issue of the academic success of students, or is it Mr. Taxman knocking on the administration’s door.
However, the administration is right in deciding to conduct a pilot program to see which jobs can be exempted and also come up with ways to assist students in balancing their jobs. Holloway’s office will create a database to keep track of which students work more than 20 hours a week. When that happens, the hiring manager will be contacted and the student will be notified. She pledged students will not be fired.
A positive outcome of this limitation could be the opening up of more jobs for other students, as hours that used to be covered will now be available to others.
Another is, of course, not being sued by the IRS. If the administrators’ true concern lies with student workers, then they should develop programs to support students who need more than 20 hours per week not just to pay for student bills, but to survive.
As Holloway put it, we don’t want students “destitute in the street.”