At SightLine, we believe that student success and university success go hand-in-hand. We have found that student employment on campus provides a natural framework for engaging with students, resulting in better long-term retention outcomes.
In our previous student employment article, Top 3 Benefits of Employing Students on Campus, we highlighted how on-campus employment improves student performance, students gain experience in their field, and financial aid budgets are maximized with a significant ROI. These benefits continue to hold true, and this article covers additional insights to demonstrate how on-campus employment opportunities are beneficial to both students and universities. Students who are engaged through on-campus employment are much less likely to go on academic probation or to drop out over the course of one semester.
Benefits to students
- Flexibility and convenience – Supervisors of on-campus employees understand being a student comes first. They are often more flexible in creating a work schedule around a student’s classes for the entire quarter or semester. This provides a constant schedule for students that need or want more structure to their week. Supervisors also understand having to adjust a schedule for an exam or studying. The convenience of having work and school, and possibly even living on campus makes getting for an easy commute. It also allows students to work for shorter chunks of time between classes.
- Connections – Working on campus allows students to connect with other students, staff and faculty. Students can gain work experience and build their network while in school. This can lead to more connections and work opportunities after graduation
- Financial – Reducing financial anxiety for some students may be key to their overall wellness and long-term success. Providing supplementary income for living expenses and reducing the amount of student loans allocated towards living expenses can be a very smart choice for students. Students who are employed on campus may be good candidates for additional financial literacy workshops or training, providing additional outreach opportunities with these students.
Benefits to Institution
- Retention – Students employed on campus have a higher retention rate than those who work off campus or do not work during college. We looked at student employment when working with one of our customers to increase retention. Overall at this campus, 27% of students were employed during a single semester. About 2% of student employees dropped out over the course of a semester compared to about 15% of non-employees. Considering that on-campus employment may be funded by institutional grants and scholarships, this is a very good return on investment for institutions looking to leverage awards to increase enrollment and retention long term.
- Academic Standing – At our client institution, about 7% of student employees went on academic probation compared to 12% of non-employees. Even for students who did go on academic probation but were able to continue with their coursework, student employment was found to be beneficial.
- Supporting Lower Caliber Students – We found that students at this institution with less than a 3.0 overall GPA were more likely to persist if they had on campus employment. This may indicate that academic ability may not have been the cause of a lower GPA, but rather outside circumstances. Meaning they need employment for financial stability and less quantitative support from campus employers who may be checking in with them. Their academic performance may not have been stellar, but they are showing grit to continue.
On-campus student employment gives students schedule flexibility, helps build a network, and may provide experience in field of study. Overall, student employees are less likely to drop out than those not employed on campus. This benefits both the student as they progress towards graduation but also helps the university as they can retain students dedicated to finishing their programs.
For more information on how to set up student employment opportunities on campus within a student success framework with measurable outcomes, contact the SightLine team!