Supporting student employees during period of COVID-19

To: UC Santa Cruz Staff and Faculty

From: Vice Provost Student Success Jaye Padgett

Dear Staff and Faculty Colleagues,

COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for us. Among those many challenges is the question of whether and how we can continue to employ students. I’m writing with thoughts related to this question.

For many students, whether they are eligible for work-study or not, a campus-paid job is part of their financial aid plan. The prospect of losing income now because of COVID-19 could create hardship, possibly even endangering their ability to continue as students. I have already heard from students who are deeply concerned over the possible loss of income, and who starting spring quarter may be unable to pay for rent and buy groceries. Obviously, challenges like this disproportionately affect our students who are historically underserved, a barrier to our goal of equity of outcomes.

In addition to sustaining a student financially, employment is also a key part of the student experience, engaging them and contributing to student professional development. Now more than ever, continuing to provide engagement and developmental experiences would be helpful to our students.

For all of these reasons, for those of you who have been employing students, I encourage you to continue doing so to the fullest extent possible during this period of COVID-19.

There are many ways of employing students even remotely. Students can complete special assignments, projects, or job-related reading or training. Now could be a great time to catch up on projects and tasks that we often delay because of our busy work days. I encourage you to be creative in offering work to our students to help mitigate the impact of losing income. Our FAQ page on student employment (see below) offers more ideas. (Please note, however: students should not be assigned work or hired into positions that would otherwise be completed by career employees if career employees need additional hours to fulfill their appointment percentages.)

We recognize that you may have many questions about hiring students given our new realities. For example, can Work Study students be employed remotely? Answer: Yes! To help you get answers, we have created this FAQ page. We will continue to improve it, and we welcome your feedback on it.

Thanks for everything you’re doing to support our students.