Student Employment National Research Study

Why on-campus student employment?

Rising tuition costs, family obligations, resume-building, and handling the curveballs life can throw, are just a few reasons why working while in school is a must for many students. An average of 70 to 80 percent of full- or part-time students are employed either on- or off-campus. This prevalence of student employment has sparked interest among both practitioners and policymakers to explore and ultimately leverage the role of student employment, on-campus employment specifically, on student success.

If operationalized effectively, on-campus employment can provide students with a greater financial security, while also improving learning, career-readiness, and persistence outcomes. Recognizing these benefits, many institutions have advanced the use federal work-study and institutional-funded campus-based employment programs as a high-priority research area that can positively impact today's students.

Key Findings

  • Senior leadership engagement is critical to ensuring greater alignment and support from the institution.

  • Institutions want to invest more in student employment program development.

  • Multiple communication channels are needed to explain to students the benefits on working on-campus and to inform them about on-campus positions.

  • Supervisors are primarily responsible for supporting student employee growth and often serve as the linchpin of the experience.

  • Institutions should have a shared understanding of what student employees should be learning.

  • Strategic data utilization is an area for improvement among many institutions, with only 35% of respondents analyzing data on hourly on-campus student employees for reasons other than federal and state employee compliance purposes.

Scope of Research

NASPA’s overarching research question was, “How are institutions maximizing student employment funds to support student retention?” Through this question, NASPA explored how institutions designed and administered on-campus student employment as a high-impact practice. NASPA’s comprehensive student employment landscape analysis occurred in three phases: (1) interviews with leaders and practitioners at institutions, (2) campus site visits, and (3) a national survey.

The report will help inform and offer guidance for colleges and universities that consider on-campus employment an underutilized resource and seek to transform the practice into a powerful means of advancing student success.

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