By Alyssa Eby
Bluffton University employs 65 percent of the student body in the Learn and Earn Program that has been present on campus for more than 30 years.
“The program was developed in 1982 to help students ‘learn’ on the job as they gain valuable transferable skills, and also to ‘earn’ a paycheck,” said Debra Niswander, assistant director of Financial Aid.
Campus jobs give students the opportunity to gain experience in a variety of areas, including fields in which they may work in the future, all while building the community on campus.
Students hold positions ranging from office jobs, library, admissions, tech center, departmental jobs and tutors, buildings and grounds, custodial work, dining services, Marbeck Center and athletics. Depending on the position, campus jobs can vary from two to ten hours per week. Student supervisor positions are also available; which hours range from eight to 20 hours per week.
First year students start at minimum wage – which is currently $8.10 in Ohio. Bluffton has a merit-based pay scale so that students who continue to hold the same position the following year, or switch to a job in their major or related field, will receive an increase of $.25 per hour. Student supervisors receive an additional $.50 per hour.
“Being able to work just a short walk from my dorm is extremely convenient,” said sophomore Emily Griffith of her student job in the campus’ Learning Resource Center. “I never have to be concerned about the weather and having to drive to my job.”
Academic year jobs are applied for in January of each year for the following year.
The university also hires approximately 100 students in various jobs across campus during the summer. Some are part time positions, but many are up to 40 hours per week. Summer positions are available in various offices, library, tech center, buildings and grounds, custodial crews, Marbeck Center and dining services.
Available summer jobs are posted on the university’s website and students may apply online.
“It feels good to help build the community from within and get to know classmates through work.” Said Griffith. “I’ll be able to use the skills I’ve learned for years to come.”
Paychecks are distributed to student mailboxes on the 15th of each month. Students also have the opportunity for their checks to go straight to their student account or direct deposit to their bank.
Applications for next year are currently being accepted and can be found on Bluffton’s website. Summer applications are also currently being accepted.
“Student workers are a valuable asset to our campus.” Niswander said. “Through the Learn & Earn program students may gain work experience in their area of academic study, identify career objectives, gain transferable skills that can be useful in a variety of careers and earn a paycheck.”