By JESSE JONES
While away at college many students discover that they must find the balance between their schoolwork and free time. When it comes to having fun they must use it responsibly. Using their time responsibly can come in many forms such as doing homework and studying. However, for many students their free time is dedicated to working, in attempts to pay off their college tuition.
Student employment on campus may appear to be a fairly seamless and enjoyable process, however, due to the complications of the hour-logging system known as MyTime and changes within the Financial Aid offices, the experience for student employees has been difficult.
A change in staff within the Financial Aid department made these issues difficult to address quickly. Upon Laura Needham’s departure, the former Student Employment Coordinator, student payroll fell under the jurisdiction of Erika Elie, the Assistant Director of Financial Aid.
Elie began the year asking staff members to submit work authorization forms for their student employees, Applications for Student Employment and Student Employment Agreements, prior to the end of the Spring 2016 semester. She did this to ensure that all of the documents would be processed by the first week of school the following semester.
“Everything we turned in during the months of April and May had already been filed away and [Financial Aid] would not look at it,” said a student employer who has requested to remain anonymous. A separate staff member who also wished to remain anonymous said, “I feel horrible for the student employees who just want to work but are being treated like second-class citizens.”
Kronos Workforce which is the application used by student employees to track the hours that they have worked appears easy to use and user friendly. However, the simplicity of the “Record Timestamp” button was quite difficult to use this year for student employees due to technical issues in which despite a time-punch, students’ hours were not logged.
Every two weeks students must approve their timecard, which signifies their approval that the number of hours logged in the system, are correct for that pay period. If this is not completed by noon on Monday morning the following week, students run the risk of not being paid on time for their work.
Although the system typically sends you an email stating “Timecard is in need of approval. Please take immediate action,” sometimes extenuating circumstances occur which prevent this from being done, resulting in not getting paid. In addition, the approval system this semester did not work for some. This malfunction resulted in student employees approving their timecards correctly, but left their timecards appearing un-approved.
Nonetheless, some students still do not have authorization to work because they must re-submit their paperwork since the Financial Aid department states that they cannot accept any documentation prior to July. This requirement poses a large inconvenience and issue due to the fact that certain on-campus jobs require student workers to begin their duties during the summer months.
Junior Shannon Finney, who is the Senior Student Coordinator for MyUMW shared her thoughts on the process. “The whole process was just incredibly frustrating, it was really hard to get in touch with the right people and felt like I was being overlooked,” Finney said. “I had been working for nearly three months, starting in the summer, and just logged onto MyTime for the first time in the middle of September.”
Other former student employees, some of whom are members of the James Farmer Multicultural Center still do not have authorization to work. This is partially due to the fact that in mid-August, student supervisors were informed they could not file any more paperwork because the Financial Aid department was trying to catch-up on the large number of forms they had to tend to. This meant that offices could not hire secretaries or fill other vacancies within their staff, because the department fell behind, due to unforeseen circumstances.
In addition, a handful of students who were able to make the deadline for submitting their applications were forced to do so up to three times and have receipts printed upon doing so because the Financial Aid department continually misplaced them.