Finding work-study jobs a tough task for students who arrive in the spring

Every year, USC awards millions of dollars of financial aid to students in the form of federal work-study funds that can be earned by working on campus. But for many students — particularly spring admits — finding a work-study job is proving to be an increasingly difficult task.

Spring awakening · Spring admits had the chance to get acquainted with the school at an orientation held earlier in the semester. Many spring admits are now looking for work-study jobs but having little success. - Sunil Murali | Daily Trojan

“It just seems like no one is hiring,” said Stephanie Kim, a freshman spring admit majoring in psychology. “They’ll give you an application, but you won’t hear back.”

USC holds a job fair at the start of the fall semester, helping students find a way to earn their work-study funds. Most of the jobs fill quickly, however, and few open in the spring when spring admits start looking for work.

“Most departments are looking at the beginning of the year to project their staffing needs for the entire academic year,” said Alcyone Moore, director of human resources for enrollment services.

Hugh McHarg, executive director of communications and public programming for USC Libraries, said the libraries hire about 450 students with work-study funds, but most of those spots are taken in the fall.

The library does offer some jobs in the spring, McHarg said, but the openings are not as abundant as they are at the beginning of the year.

“In the spring semester, we do rehire a majority of our student workers from the fall, but we typically have a significant number of new opportunities available for students seeking work when they return to campus in January,” McHarg said. “I do believe that we have people returning so I would estimate that there are less jobs available in the spring.”

Moore said the university has a variety of resources students can use to find a job, including the Career Center.

Still, she noted that the task is a difficult one, as many of the more popular jobs — including jobs at the Lyon Center and the USC Pertusati Bookstore — fill up early.

Finding little success on campus, some students have started looking off campus.

Annette Chung, a freshman spring admit majoring in architecture, said she looked for jobs at the International Residential College at Parkside downstairs desk, the Arts and Humanities Residential College at Parkside desk, Campus Cruiser and Leavey Library.

“But it kind of seemed like they weren’t accepting applications,” she said.

Off-campus jobs typically do not use work-study funds, though the pay is sometimes better. Still, Chung noted there are other disadvantages to the off-campus job search.

“I looked off-campus at L.A. Live for a job that paid $15 an hour,” Chung said. “But it’s too difficult to commute and I would rather stay on campus.”