Students face the decision to work on campus or in the private sector

College students have many choices to make when it comes to their financial health; get a job or focus on school, live on-or-off campus and work on-or-off campus among others.

Although there have been studies about the correlation of college student success when living on campus, there is not as much research put into those who work on campus and how it affects educational performance. However, the proximity can be a perk, according to Andrae Rahming and Abenezer Beshah, who both work in the MavCARD Office.

Rahming is a recent Minnesota State graduate who was promoted to MavCARD Services Coordinator after graduating. Before that he did counter work which included taking pictures and producing cards and name badges.

“I was an international student so I couldn’t work off campus. On campus work was the only thing I could do,” Rahming said. “ Other than flexibility, the distance to travel is a pro because it is pretty close to where I live.”

International students are limited to on campus jobs because they do not have work permits that would allow them to work in the private sector. On campus jobs are limited to 20 hours per week during the semester and will pay $12-15.10 per hour according to the 2022 Student Pay Classifications. Commercial firms such as Barnes & Noble Bookstore at MSU and Sodexo are contracted with the university and have different pay rates.

According to Rahming, his former supervisor acted as a mentor by giving him some projects that allowed him to lean into his marketing major.

Beshah, a computer science major, also said he appreciates that being an assistant in the MavCARD Office is relevant to his career goals and offers him downtime to study.

“I used to work in Sodexo. For me, it’s the worst place to work. You got paid $10 an hour and the work is really intense and hard,” Beshah said. “Here, you’re sitting here on your own computer and that’s my major, focused on computers.”

Beshah said he sometimes struggles with the hour and pay restrictions when making rent and utility payments at his off-campus housing.

“Working 20 hours, I don’t think is fair,” Beshah said. “We’d like to have a couple hours more to work if we could. Working more than 20 hours would be awesome for us because we international students don’t have a work permit to work outside campus. So getting extra money by working extra hours would be cool.”

For domestic students who have the option of working for a private employer, the convenience of working at one’s school can be outweighed by a greater financial need. Alyssa Homeier, manager of the Fillin’ Station coffee house in downtown Mankato, is an off-campus student at MSU. Her apartment requires monthly rent and utility payments and needs the option to go above the 20 hours per week maximum set by the university.

“I had considered it in the past but it wasn’t really ever an option because it would not have helped pay my bills enough,” Homeier said.

Besides making this extra income, she also said she appreciates meeting people who are not involved with the university.

“I’d say that you get more experience with the actual community. I see more people that are not students anymore or older people,” Homeier said. “I feel like working in customer service is just a good experience talking to people. I’m sure with on campus jobs you do it as well—and it could be the same but I’ve never worked an on campus job—but I think I have more prolonged interactions with people. I feel like on campus everything is so fast-paced versus, at least at the Fillin’ Station, we can take our time to talk to people.”

Students can find on campus job listings on Handshake by logging in with their Star ID and password, or by asking the Career Development Center.

Header photo: With students balancing a number of responsibilities, it can be difficult to pay for college. Students have the choice to either work on-or-off campus, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before choosing. (Dylan Long/The Reporter)

Write to Carly Bahr at

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