Although the opening of the new residential colleges in 2017 will begin to increase the size of the student body by 15 percent, the number of student jobs is unlikely to see a proportionate boost.

Currently, over half of the Yale College population holds at least one student job, manager of the Student Employment Office Heather Abati said. She said that even in the face of cutbacks in federal support for work study programs, the University remains committed to providing enough jobs for its students, especially those on financial aid. But it is unclear how the University intends to accommodate job seekers in an expanded student body, especially when students say the current employment process is already highly competitive.

University Librarian Susan Gibbons said that at present, the University does not expect the opening of the new colleges to require additional student workers in the Yale University Library system. Gibbons’ remarks were consistent with those of Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan and Director of Financial Aid Caesar Storlazzi, who said the University as a whole does not intend to make any changes to student employment policies.

More than half of the 12 students interviewed spoke about applying to at least 20 jobs, only to hear back from three or four.

Kevin Hwang ’17, who currently holds three jobs on campus, said there is often a delay when it comes to hearing from potential employers after applications are submitted. Hwang said there is already a high demand for part-time jobs, and he expects that the increased number of students on work-study packages would increase the demand for student jobs.

“A lot of us try to find jobs initially through the Yale student employment website, but, from personal experience, most employers listed on the website don’t respond or keep up with their postings once they’ve found someone to work for them, leaving applicants in limbo,” Hwang said.

The Center for Language Study currently employs 94 students in the foreign language tutoring program, according to Assistant Director for Specialized and Interdisciplinary Language Programs Angela Gleason. Tutors are hired according to need, Gleason said, and there are 40 to 50 prospective tutors on the waiting list every semester.

Vanessa Ague ’17, who applied to become a campus tour guide her freshman year, said tour guide positions are already so hard to come by that it was hard to imagine how the Visitor Center and Admissions Office — under both of which tour guides are employed — would respond to a potential uptick in applications for the job.

“If they don’t [hire more tour guides], there are going to be more competitive cuts at each round,” Ague said. “They could be cutting hundreds of people. It’s a job everyone wants.”

Director of the Visitor Center Nancy Franco said there are currently 65 campus tour guides — not including engineering or science tour guides, who undergo a different hiring process. This year, 188 people applied to be a tour guide, and only 15 to 20 will be accepted.

But Grace Chiang ’15 said the biggest challenge to student workers is finding enough hours at a high enough wage to cover the student contribution of financial aid packages. Chiang said she too applied to every job for which she was qualified on the student employment website only to hear back from two, one of which she eventually had to quit because the available shifts could not work with her schedule.

“It’s impossible to fulfill [the student contribution for financial aid packages] if you don’t work during term time,” Chiang said. “If the hundreds of new students they’re admitting maintain the same ratio of financial aid, you need that many more jobs.”

In aggregate, Yale College students worked more than 197,000 hours in over 8,200 jobs in the fall of 2014, Abati said.


Correction, Feb. 24: A previous version of this article incorrectly quoted Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan as saying that Yale does not expect an increase in student job applications to accompany the increase in size of Yale College. Quinlan’s quote has been removed and the headline of the article has been altered to reflect the change.

  • alex

    The admissions office does realize it *expects* half of students (the ones on financial aid) to make $6,400 every year beyond their family’s means, right? $3,350 of that is supposedly coming from a term-time job. So unless they’re planning on only admitting wealthy students to the new colleges, I don’t see how they can possibly expect no increase in student job applications. Like really?

    I think this gives the lie to the idea that the “student contribution” is really even thought of by Yale as something that actual students have to make working actual jobs. No wonder it’s gotten so high.

    Of course, finding hundreds of useless student jobs to fund is not the solution to this problem. Just eliminate the student contribution and let people work if they want to — then there would probably be enough student jobs to go around.

    • aaleli

      Here is a really radical idea. Attend a college you can afford. Live within your means. Same idea after college. I know it’s a preposterous suggestion. Why should any smart student have to attend a state college?

  • Ece FNW

    The mathematical and economic logic behind this is utterly incomprehensible unless they plan on (a) only admitting rich people or (b) radically restructuring financial aid to end the work requirement.

  • Eric Peterson

    The additional colleges and enrollment will certainly bring at least some incremental jobs? Maybe not library staff and tour guides, but certainly elsewhere. Two more Masters and Deans will need student aides, as well as the other odd jobs in the colleges (buttery manager, weight room/media lab/music room coordinator…), the dining halls will need student workers. Two more colleges worth of students will trigger additional lab sections, prepped by students, and so on.