Low Pay, No Way

Students working for 2011 Spring Student Hackathon

When young adults start to transition to adulthood, there are many things that they have to do. Responsibilities, bills, and amount of work begins to pile up. Having a job while taking classes full-time has almost become common practice for students. A college student’s schedule is filled by working at their job or working on their studies. Because of how little time one has, their time now becomes valuable. A student’s precious time is worth more than minimum-wage work. It’s borderline unethical to expect students to work, get good grades, have decent mental and physical health when they’re constantly stressing about making ends meet with a minimum-wage paycheck.

Work study jobs are generally minimum-wage and they’re an option for residential students to make money whilst living at school. However, they are low-paying and aren’t worth the amount of time students put into them. The most convenient thing about work-study jobs is their proximity because students are near school, work, and home, avoiding time-consuming commutes. While this is true, it’s still not worth the time, given the rate of compensation. There’s also no upward mobility in work-study jobs. Raises aren’t given, which limits the amount of money one can make.

According to Rutgers’ financial aid page, there is a 20-hour a week cap which also limits how much someone can make. It allows students to have some walking around money, but it could definitely impact grades if the workload from work and school starts to overflow. It’s certainly not an ideal situation to stress over working and studying for school. If a student decides to move into an apartment off or near campus, there’s even more of a financial strain on that student.

It is unfair for a student to not work at all because many college students start to become more and more independent. They need to pay for everyday living costs, such as shelter, food, hygiene, etc. It’s impossible to live a comfortable life without earning money at a fair rate. According to a Huffington Post article in 2013, a survey conducted by Citigroup and Seventeen Magazine revealed that four out of five (80%) college students work part-time while studying for their degrees, averaging 19 hours a week. There is a huge chance that a college student works or worked a part-time job in order to keep up with expenses while also going to school. It leaves very little time for students to do anything else, and limits the amount of effectiveness and effort the student can put into their studies or practice their craft and prepare for their career.

The best way to solve this problem is to just increase the minimum wage. If everyone gets started off working a decent rate, it would definitely lessen stress, and free up some time so students can be comfortable financially without having to put in so many hours. Many college students are heading towards inheriting tremendous debt after graduating without guarantees of a good-paying job. The transition to full-on adulthood can be made much smoother than it currently is right now. In order to develop a thriving and flourishing generation, there needs to be fair compensation to ease the burden of piling responsibilities.