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Campuses Support Students Who Lost Their Jobs Due To COVID-19

Posted on 09 Apr 2020

5 min read
Campuses Support Students Who Lost Their Jobs Due To COVID-19

Support for Students Who Lost Their Jobs Due to COVID-19

Recently, the leaders of Ohio University declared that even though they sent their students home due to the pandemic of coronavirus, they will keep employing them and paying those student workers who were willing to keep their jobs. For example, if these students cannot keep doing their work remotely, the university officials will find them new roles at their college.

The president of Ohio University M. Duane Nellis said in an interview that they want to provide those students with the opportunities to do meaningful work.

Most operations and classes will not take place online all over the country, so lots of undergraduates do not have any work now. For most of them, it means that their significant income for the rest of the semester will be lost.

However, administrators currently try to understand how to let students get their payment if they currently have no work to do. There is no single response from colleges. Some of them just promised to keep paying students who are out of work; others cannot pledge the same. However, such colleges like Ohio try to provide students with remote work if possible. But any of these colleges will face challenges in their approach.

Overall, there are 29,000 students at the University. Students fulfill various different roles of research and teaching assistants, dining and housing workers, resident advisers in dorms, lab technicians, writing-center tutors, IT support staffers, etc.

Some students at Ohio, as well as at other universities, are part of the federal work-study financial-aid program. That program provides subsidies for 700,000 students all over the country. Other students are employed part-time and are paid by the institution. According to the Education Department, 43% of undergraduates have full-time work in some capacity.

And lots of students see their jobs as their only affordable way to stay in college.

A spokesman for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities Jeff Lieberson wrote that a wide range of ways students are paid for work makes the problem even more complicated. He highlighted that schools strive to support their students during the crisis, but it depends on lots of external aspects.

Lots of facilities employing students in colleges, such as dining halls or libraries, are closed due to the pandemic because the majority of students have gone home. It was done to prevent the spread of the virus. “Shelter in place” launched by lots of cities and states is another factor that complicates the situation. People can leave their homes for essential reasons only. Unemployment benefits often cannot be issued to full-time students.

Students Who Study and Work at One College: Examples

One of the colleges that promised to pay its student workers until the end of the semester at New York University. At least the end of April, the University of Northern Colorado and Pennsylvania State University will cover the salaries of their students. No matter whether they work or not, students at Saint Louis University will be paid anyways. Moreover, students who do work at that university will receive a one-time grant of $750 if they cannot do their jobs remotely.

Such universities as the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina will pay their hourly employees, including students. Just like Ohio University, the Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and the University of Memphis are looking for remote opportunities for their students.

However, these are just a few educational establishments. The situation on other campuses is not so joyful.

According to the information stated on the website of Western Washington University, their student workers may opt for not working during suspended operations, and they would not be paid if they don’t.

The New York Wells College may still allow its working students to work remotely.

A limited number of student positions were approved on Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, and each student who lost his or her job will get $420.

The University of Wisconsin at Madison issued new guidance declaring that all students who work and study at the university will be paid for the last two weeks of March during the extended spring break. So, work-study students were paid for 10 hours per week; other students received two payments of $130.

Lots of students who work in dining and housing found out that they would not be able to keep working due to the pandemic. Many students petitioned to get paid for what they would have earned this semester. But they were denied by the administrators. Students say that they don’t understand it while these expenses were already in the budget. However, they did not ask for anything extra. University sent them a couple of emails offering different financial resources, most of which were just loans and would need to be paid back.

COVID-19 affected even those students who can work remotely. The amount of online work has doubled. But the pay didn’t change at the same time.

Official response

Officials at Ohio University are trying to search for new assignments for employed students who cannot work outside their campus. Supervisors try to be creative and allow students to learn new procedures that may be helpful for students when they get back to work.

Students can take virtual tours to campus or help colleges shift to online learning, etc.

Such educational establishments as Texas A&M University at College Station and Vanderbilt University are also trying to involve students to make their transition to online learning smoother and easier.


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