UT, provide student workers with discounts

Alyssa Ramos, Associate Editor

Through FAFSA, students with financial need can apply for a work-study opportunity at UT to alleviate financial stress. Work-study students dedicate hours to their studies; however, they often fail to receive the same benefits as other students who work full time or those who work under an academic title.  

To assist work-study students and students who work under non-academic titles, the University should offer them discounts to UT-owned stores. 

Students who work under a work-study opportunity are confronted with the decision of having their payments directly used for education-related charges or sent to their bank accounts. If the payment is used for their tuition, fees, housing and food expenses, work-study students are often left with less money than they started with. 

“I think if students are going to spend anywhere from 15 to 25 extra hours on campus every week, they should not be forced to pay full price for the food,” finance junior Abraham Cruz said. “Especially for people who work at the dining halls. They shouldn’t have to pay for the food that they just made.” 

Additionally, to receive benefits and insurance at the University, students must work at least 20 hours per week for almost a full semester. Students who work under an academic title currently receive benefits such as paid time off, paid sick leave and paid holiday leave. 

On the other hand, work-study students are paid by the hour and are limited to only working up to 19 hours per week. While this restriction exists to maximize a balanced work-education schedule, it also puts work-study students at a disadvantage, as they fail to qualify for other benefits or insurance of any kind. 

If UT cannot offer students discounts to non-University affiliated stores, the least they could do is provide them with a price deduction on UT-sold food and goods. This would reduce their current financial stress while they continue to work to minimize any future educational loans. 

“We value our student workers and the important roles they play in our campus operations, and we’re pleased that they are eligible for many of the same benefits available to state workers,” said Veronica Trevino, assistant director of issues management, in an email. “These include paid, flexible work schedules that allow students to prioritize class attendance and coursework, the UTSaver voluntary retirement program for students employed in non-academic jobs, and the ability to earn state service credit. A university-wide (discount program for) non-academic student employees … is not offered at this time.”

With the system that is currently in place, work-study students simply earn their wages without receiving any additional incentives like the other staff. Having the University provide discounts to these students would level out the disparity between employees and their benefits. 

Ramos is a journalism sophomore from Laredo, TX.