A basic premise governing need-based financial aid programs is that families have the primary responsibility to pay for college costs. Part of this expectation is that students, to the extent that they are able,should help pay for their college expenses. Student employment, both during the academic year and over the summers, can make an important contribution to a student’s financial resources.
The chart below, based on one prepared by the financial aid office at the University of Michigan, shows how working a modest number of hours can provide income during the thirty weeks of the academic year.
The rate of pay is based on the current average hourly rate at the University of Michigan for temporary jobs. Hours per Week at $6/hour (Academic Year) 8 hours $1,440 12 hours $2,160 15 hours $2,70015 Since most college-bound students’ dot-com stock options have yet to vest, or worse yet, have already tanked, many students will find it necessary to work while attending college.
Parents concerned that work will interfere with a child’s studies should remember the adage “if you want something done right, give it to a busy person.” According to William DeJong, Ph.D., director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, most students have a great deal of free time on their hands.