By the Numbers: Student Employment at UNC
August 20, 2019
UNC junior Sylvia Rizo doesn’t remember a time that she hasn’t worked at least two jobs.
“I’ve even had three at some point,” “I don’t think I’ve ever not had at least two jobs,” said the Sport and Exercise Science major.
Currently, Rizo has a work-study position in the Office of Financial Aid as a senior peer counselor. She used to work for UNC Catering, Weld County School District 6, Kohl’s and Silver Mine Subs as a delivery driver —all while juggling her school work.
According to a spring 2019 survey for UNC seniors and freshmen from UNC’s Office of Assessment, approximately 64% of the 1,263 survey participants indicated that they worked six or more hours a week.
Above: UNC junior Sylvia Rizo sits on the glass-floor of a skyscraper. She has a work-study position in the UNC Office of Financial Aid as a senior peer counselor. Photo courtesy of Rizo.
Top: A student employee hands over a coffee cup.
UNC seniors are more likely to have completed an internship or gain field experience compared to seniors at other peer institutions. Eighty-two percent of UNC seniors report having done this or are planning to do so.
“Students [nationwide] spend an average of 4.2 hours a day working paid jobs, which is more than double the time they spend in the library, nearly two hours more than they spend in class and 1.4 hours more time than they spend studying at home,” according to a 2018 HSBC survey.
According to UNC's Office of Assessment, national benchmarking data shows UNC seniors work a similar number of hours per week on-campus, but significantly more hours per week off-campus relative to seniors at comparable universities.
Rizo works 15 hours per week in Financial Aid, and her work-study flexibility is really helpful for her schedule, especially if homework starts piling up.
“I ended up loving my work-study job in the Financial Aid office because I was seen as a student before an employee,” she said. “If I needed to talk with a professor, then I was allowed to; if I needed to come in an hour late because I had to take an exam, then that was also OK.”
Regardless of the type of work, gaining experience helps students.
“I make sure our students know that by working on or off campus, they’re gaining career readiness competencies that will be beneficial to them no matter what career path they’re pursuing,” said Renée Welch (image at left), director of UNC Center for Career Readiness, which offers numerous resources for students and alumni alike.
According to the UNC Office of Financial Aid website, “Research shows that students who are employed for a reasonable number of hours per week, while attending college, tend to get better grades because they are more organized and responsible.”
As of May 2019, over 1,900 UNC students worked on campus, either in student hourly positions or work-study jobs. Rizo is one of 754 UNC students employed in work-study jobs in the 2018-20 academic years, with 100 of those students working more than one job. These types of positions tend to average 18 to 20 hours a pay period. There are 136 locations that employ work-study students with 122 of them on-campus and 14 off-campus including Weld County School District 6; City of Greeley Culture, Parks and Recreation; North Range Behavioral Health and others.
“I think if you have work-study, then you should definitely use it as there are many benefits including the help to pay student bills and being seen as a student,” said Rizo. “Places like Dining Services and the libraries are always hiring, and if there is not work-study on the award letter, then students can always apply for the work-study waitlist.”
Students can also search for on-campus hourly jobs that don’t require work-study awards. Handshake is the centralized resource for students to find part-time (on- and off-campus), work study, internships and full-time jobs.
UNC continues to enhance career-related opportunities for students. This includes internships with UNC partners, such as Weld County government, which now offers internships in Geographic Information Systems among others. Be sure to check Handshake often for updated job posts.
Career-related resources for students:
- Handshake, UNC student job search
- Office of Financial Aid’s Work-Study and Student Employment Resources
- UNC Center for Career Readiness
- Borrow professional attire from UNC Monfort College of Business’ Klawzet
- Make an appointment with Career Readiness
- UNC Alumni Association’s Bear Network
- UNC Alumni Association’s Career Events
- Internal and external scholarships