Over winter break, I had to attend a mandatory meeting regarding the Affordable Care Act compliance and how it was limiting students to 25 working hours on campus. As a result, I came into this editorial frustrated, angry, and full of bias.
Once I began to investigate what was causing the student body to go into an uproar, my opinion became more complex.
When looking at ACA compliance, many students claim there was a lack of consideration or preparation put into the act. They question why there wasn’t an exception made for students to be able to work over 30 hours and still be considered non-fulltime employees.
While this may be a valid point, many, myself included, never considered that the University of Wisconsin System may have assumed that students under the age of 26 would be covered under their parents’ healthcare plan. And, in light of recent system wide budget cuts, they cannot afford to offer healthcare to full-time student workers.
You may be thinking, “So what, the system is still limiting the number of hours students can work regardless of whether or not they have the ability to receive health insurance. Why can’t the limit be 29 hours? Why can’t students be allowed to work as much as they want?
No one ever stopped to ask themselves if it was healthy to work over 25 hours while being a full-time college student.
Many students work multiple jobs, go to class, are involved in extracurricular activities and barely have time to sleep in a day.
So, if it is unhealthy for students to work this much, why do they do it?
Believe it or not, most students on campus cannot cover the cost of college upfront. They work as much as they can in the attempt to make ends meet.
Limiting on-campus work hours will not change this fact.
“I don’t like the thought of having to look for work off-campus. This university is my home, work and place of fun,” said Matt Grutza, senior communications major and Steiner Hall desk manager.
Grutza is only one of many students caught in this position.
If students are working an extreme amount of hours just so they can cover the cost of receiving a higher education, we should be asking ourselves two important questions.
Why is the cost of college tuition so high? And more importantly, why isn’t more funding being put toward our education system?