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Why Work on Campus?

Why Work in College?

There are many reasons why work should be part of your collegiate experience. Here are a few things to consider when you are deciding whether or not you want to work while going to school:

  • The average undergraduate student loan debt in the United States at graduation was around $29,000.  For Utah, that amount was lower, a little over $18,000.*  But working during school can greatly lower the amount of debt incurred to attend school.
  • A student graduating with little or no school debt is better prepared for a family, for graduate school, and for life in general.
  • Studies from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that students who work up to 20 hours a week while attending college have a better GPA than those who don’t work at all.
  • Students who work while attending college also tend to make more in their careers after they graduate.

Below is a paper with detailed information, based on research and statistics, about some of the effects of working while attending school. The conclusion contains recommendations from Student Employment for students who are considering employment on campus while attending school.

Effects of Student Employment

*2021 data from the Institute for College Access and Success report

Why Be Employed on Campus?

There are many good reasons to consider working on campus. Three of them are highlighted here in the form of a tax savings, convenient job locations, and work experience in a good work environment.

FICA Taxes
Most students are exempt from FICA taxes. These taxes fund Medicare and Social Security programs. If a student is exempt, it means they get an extra 7.65% more in their checks than what they could receive working off campus where they are subject to the FICA tax.

To be eligible for the exemption, undergraduate U.S. citizens must be enrolled for at least 6.0 credit hours per semester (3.0 credits per term in spring and summer) and graduate U.S. citizens enrolled for at least 2.0 credits per semester (1.0 credit per term in spring and summer). However, once enrollment drops below the required credits, both the student and the hiring department will pay FICA. International students are exempt by law from paying the FICA tax.

A huge benefit of on-campus employment for students are flexible shifts to match their class schedules. Campus departments understand that a student’s schedule changes often and are willing to work with those adjustments. Being able to work next door to classes also reduces commuting time for students. Finally, there are a lots of different job opportunities across campus. From dining to carpentry to work in a lab, students get to choose from a wide variety of jobs.

Work Experience 
One of the truly unique benefits for students of on-campus employment is the chance to work and acquire skills in their field of study. Working in their field helps students to build a network of friends, co-workers, and contacts in their industry. Students working in their field also have the chance to be mentored by caring and committed faculty and staff, who are invested in helping them grow in their careers. Importantly, on-campus work also gives a chance for students to grow in a faith-based learning environment.

For these and many other reasons, all students should consider working on-campus as they make their way through college!