Budgeting Decisions Leave Student Workers With the Short End of the Stick



The Roar Staff

Since the first days of wandering through high school halls, it has been drilled into students’ heads that they need to go to college. With college comes debt. From textbooks to meal plans, expenses are seemingly endless, so what is a student to do but find a job?

Student worker positions have been a reliable way for students to earn money with flexible hours and a convenient location that does not require them to leave campus. An opportunity that some students may not otherwise have due to lack of transportation or complex and demanding schedules. Beginning in Fall of 2022, the budget allotted for these positions at Piedmont was slashed. Leaving student workers retaining their positions with half of the hours they planned for, and students that wished to find an on-campus job without any vacancies to fill.

Though student workers are only compensated the federal minimum wage, and the maximum hours allowed to work caps out at 20 each week, this money makes a valuable difference in students’ lives. Piedmont University upperclassmen may have noticed their tuition expenses increase, while scholarships remained stagnant. In some instances, this turned having a job from a want to a need, and with an already full plate, many hoped to find a job on campus. Now, with the decrease in budget, many are left with only a handful of their previous hours, or unable to find a job at all.

Aside from the stresses of classes and student debt attached to tuition, students also deserve to enjoy their primitive years of adulthood.

Students all over campus feel the strain—the pressure to save money and the want to go out with friends. Everyone knows it, and everyone has felt it: the fear of missing out, a.k.a. FOMO. This is not an unfamiliar feeling to students, and when push comes to shove, sacrifices have to be made, but students already sacrifice a majority of their free time for their studies and extracurriculars. When the opportunity finally presents itself to take a break with their friends, should money be what makes their decision of yes or no?

Albeit a measly $7.25, student worker positions make a difference in the lives of students. A source of income that provides students with extra spending cash, money to pay off student loans, the option to save for a rainy day or take a break to have fun with friends.

As Piedmont increases tuition year after year, they decline to think of the people that make Piedmont possible. For what is a school with no students to fill the classrooms? The unfair consideration of students in budget cuts harms faculty and staff as well. Students provide valuable assistance in a variety of departments, and while some students have continued this work without compensation, this is a less-than-ideal situation.

We know that a portion of the tuition money is being used for various things that benefit students, and we are grateful for that. For example, building a state-of-the-art freshmen dorm that allowed for the recruitment of Piedmont’s largest freshmen class. It is nonsensical why these funds cannot also contribute to securing student worker positions.

Students are posed with costs of living and tuition prices that only continue to grow, while opportunities to work are stripped from the budget.

The mishandling of funds has fallen on the backs of students. In the past few years alone, budget cuts have cost a number of departments valuable scholarships, the elimination of student travel and now Piedmont has revoked opportunities for us to earn that money back. Piedmont has repeatedly chosen to leave students in the dark. Without transparency from executive boards, students are left wondering where their money is going. If it’s not to services that benefit us, then who does this money benefit? And why are we expected to pay the cost of these financial woes?

If Piedmont wants to improve student retention, they aren’t going to accomplish this by taking benefits away.