Summer jobs scarce in crisis

By April DeJarlais

As finals wind down for Macalester students, thoughts begin to turn to summer work-or lack thereof. This year, Macalester saw a dramatic spike in on-campus job applications. The five to seven full-time summer positions offered by Admissions received roughly 100 applications, Assistant to the Director of Admissions Lucy Bauer said.

More students than usual had also sent Bauer follow-up e-mails about the positions, suggesting a heightened degree of competitiveness.

Admissions is a primary provider of on-campus summer jobs. The department also offers several part-time positions as tour guides. Macalester welcomes many prospective students during the summer, so “we make sure we have students around,” Bauer said.

On-campus summer jobs are concentrated in the administrative departments rather than the academic, with the exception of students on research grants in the science department.

There is a mix of ages in the summer job program. Research grants are mostly among juniors and seniors, but hourly-paid jobs are spread evenly among years. Summer job positions see many international students and a few new Macalester alums.

As of press time, there are eight summer job openings listed on 1600 Grand among four employers. Positions are for a lifeguard in Athletics and associates in the Sustainability Office, the Highlander Store and Biology. Hourly wages run from $8 to $10.

While faculty salaries were frozen this year, the budget for financial aid and student employment increased. This year’s student employment budget stood at roughly $3 million, and increases for next year are expected to “continue as much as possible,” Williams said.

Next year’s student employees will enjoy a wage increase of 35 cents per hour. This year also saw a wage increase of 35 cents per hour. Hourly rates for students range from $7.25 to $9.25 depending on the student’s year. The increase in the financial aid budget also funded increased student work awards, so employees have the opportunity to earn more during the school year.

The summer employment budget rose along with the number of job applicants. The job searches are bound to be more competitive this year, but Macalester is trying to alleviate the stress for students.

“The college,” Williams said, “is extremely supportive of the student employment program and recognizes the value of students.