Giving Compass' Take:

A report from NASPA–Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education offers recommendations on how to improve work-study programs for college students to be more career-ready.

What is an example of a successful work-study program? What are the benefits of making them more career-focused?

Read the Giving Compass guide on workforce development.

On-campus jobs have long offered a way for students to help students pay for college. But how can these gigs—which could range from data-entry to dining hall service—better prepare students for their careers and keep them in school?

A new report from NASPA–Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education offers recommendations on how colleges can rethink work-study programs to more intentionally prepare working students with career-ready skills.

“As time and resource constraints prevent students from engaging in unpaid co-curricular activities, on-campus employment is well positioned to serve as a paid learning and engagement opportunity that will improve student retention and connection to the institution,” the report reads.

At least 70 percent of undergraduate students have a job, according to a 2015 study by Georgetown University. And it’s estimated that 700,000 students participate in the Federal Work-Study program, a financial aid program that funds part-time employment for low-income working students.

Balancing work, studies and other personal responsibilities can be challenging. But some studies show that students who participate in federal work-study programs are more likely to graduate and land a job.
Today’s report provides suggestions for colleges and universities to improve their work-study programs. The recommendations include:

  • Create a hiring system that reflects what students may expect from future professional work opportunities, such as requiring a resume and interview processes, and clear job expectations.
  • Make retention and learning a goal of student employment opportunities.
  • Provide student employees with professional development opportunities and offer supervisors with clear guidelines and support to do so.
  • Help student employees document and evaluate their on-campus work experiences.

Read the full article about work-study programs in higher education by Sydney Johnson at EdSurge