Eau Claire students working to pay for an education

Eau Claire students working to pay for an education

Story by Sam Rosenberry

It would stand to reason that having less to do would give one more time. However, more time may not mean efficient time.

Financial Aid Director Kathy Sahlhoff said that students who work part time have better time-management skills.

One such student is senior Danielle Herdegen, who works at Student Services and in the Center for International Education office. She agrees with this summation.

“I already know my schedule each week,” she said. “Having a job forces me to regulate my time.”

She is one of the many UW-Eau Claire students who balance work with education. There are 4,416 student positions on this campus, Sahlhoff said. Beyond time management, other benefits of employment include keeping debt down and learning real world skills.

She also said that a person may be more likely to be hired if they worked in college compared to someone who did not. Though she stresses not to work too much.  “As soon as you go past part-time, she said, “it erodes the benefits.”

Another student who works part-time is senior Angie Stangl, who works at the reference desk at the library. She agrees with Sahlhoff and Herdegen that her time management is better.

However, she, unlike Herdegen, receives work-study as payment.

Work-study is awarded as part of a student’s financial aid package, thus it’s funded by the government, Sahlhoff said. Students get all the aid they are eligible for and if they still have need, it will also be offered work-study. There were over 900 students with work-study last year.

Once one has been given the option of work-study, they just apply to a campus job like normal. The only difference is that the government will be paying their wages.

Sahlhoff said that a student’s hours will be configured to reflect the money they were rewarded.

“If the award is, say, $2,000 in work-study and they’re getting paid $8 an hour … then you would have to keep your hours to eight or nine a week.”

On-campus employers will allow more hours, but they will have to cover the difference, Sahlhoff said.

Stangl said that has happened to her.

“I’ve only had it happen once, so it was only a special circumstance a couple years ago,” she said. “Otherwise I’ve had plenty of work-study.”

The only other difference between work-study and regular campus work is that someone on work-study may have a slightly better chance of getting a job due to funding.

“They only have a certain amount of non-federal money,” she said “If you come to them with work-study, they can use you either way.”

Students received a little over $1 million in work-study. Also, university employment paid students about $4.77 million last year.

There are students working off campus as well. Senior Kirstyn Fesenmaier works about 20 hours a week as a waitress at Stella Blues restaurant. She works off campus mainly for the money.

“You end up usually making more at a restaurant with tips than you would on campus.”

She also doesn’t have much interest being on campus for the majority of the day as she may have had to be with an on-campus job.

Both Herdegen and Stangl enjoy on-campus jobs for their flexibility.

“They really work with the student’s schedules to allow us to work,” Herdegen said.

Stangl said that her employer has even been OK with tardiness on occasions.

“If you’re running five minutes late from a class,” she said, “they understand.”

Herdegen also enjoys getting to work during normal business hours.

“Working at a restaurant until 11:00 is not for me,” she said. “I like fitting (work) into my daily schedules and having the evenings to work on homework.”

Sahlhoff said that part-time jobs, especially those on campus, teach students skills that they can use in their future careers. She doesn’t wantto minimize off-campus jobs though.

Fesenmaier said that being a waitress will help her with her marketing major.

“If you do encounter any sales in marketing, obviously then my sales skills are being helped by this job, but I wouldn’t say
anything huge.”

In the case of Stangl though, she has a different career outlook than she previously had.

“It’s good work experience for me,” she said. “It’s actually kind of changed where I want to head with my future job.”