The current economic climate has made it difficult for students to find internships and part-time jobs. This past year, the University of Missouri Economic Downturn Work Team, the Division of Student Affairs and the MU Career Center partnered to find a solution, creating new on-campus student employment opportunities. Beginning in August 2009, the CASH (Campus Augmenting Student Hires) Program has been providing matching funds to campus employers for hiring students for new or unfilled work-study positions.
“We believed that we could utilize the many skills and abilities of students for jobs on campus more effectively,” says Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs. “This is a situation that is beneficial for everyone. Students are able to find work, and campus departments have additional help to get the work done.”
The CASH Program provides an incentive for hiring students. CASH matches up to $500 per semester per student. The department is responsible for providing the rest of the student’s salary. Of the $400,000 in the budget, $245,000 has already been committed to student salaries. Participation has been high since the onset of the program. A total of 242 student positions in 62 campus departments have been posted and filled since the program began last fall. A wide range of positions have been filled, from graphic designers to research assistants.
“This program is a great tool for departments with limited financial and human resources,” says Amanda Nell, senior coordinator of student employment for the MU Career Center. “Students bring vitality, new perspectives and invaluable insight to the workplace.”
On-campus student employment provides benefits to both the student and the university. Students gain real world experience while applying the skills that they are trained for in the classroom. On-campus jobs provide students with a support system and a smaller community that can help with student retention. Students earn financial benefits that enable them to continue their educational experiences. Research has found that students who work between 10 and 20 hours a week on campus have higher grade point averages.
“Working with students reminds me why I’m here,” Scroggs says. “It’s a learning opportunity for us and a way to stay connected with student culture.”
Paul Toler, director of Business Services at MU, established the Economic Downturn Work Team to provide support to students and their families managing the financial pressures associated with attending college during the current economic climate.
As a result of the team’s recommendations, the CASH Program and an Economic Hardship Grant Fund were developed. The Economic Hardship Grant Fund, which is separate from the CASH program, offers awards to students whose financial circumstances have changed and whose financial difficulties are critical and immediate.