ANCHORAGE—It’s back to school for UAA students. Classes started Monday for thousands of returning students as well as about 1,800 freshmen this year.
But while it is an exciting time for students it is also a worrisome time for many. More students have taken out loans and with the current economy many are worried they won’t get the jobs they need to pay those loans back.
“I can imagine it's a very scary time for a lot of students,” said UAA Career Services head Diane Kozak.
Kozak counsels students all the time. She says entering freshmen seem particularly concerned.
“And so you can imagine starting off brand-new to the university and thinking about, ‘How am I going to pay for everything? Should I keep that job? Should I just go part-time and not have to incur that amount of debt because of the tuition difference?’ A lot of students are just kind of wondering how they will make it through the next four years,” Kozak said.
The university says more students are getting through by applying for financial aid.
The number of requests is going up and so are the number of students who hold part- and even full-time jobs while attending university.
“I am a full time student and I also have two jobs, so I have a lot on my plate, but I think I can handle it,” said freshman Kenzie Masson.
Masson says she’s not too worried about finding a job when she graduates.
But other students are staying in school longer in an effort to avoid the job market altogether.
Ben Woodland is a senior who plans to take time off after graduating before heading to graduate school. He says some of his friends don’t want to leave school at all.
“They are getting a different degree or changing degrees; maybe getting multiple degrees or considering grad school when they hadn’t before—just to kind of avoid the job market for a while,” Woodland said.
But career counselor Kozak says there are jobs available for students who graduate but they may go first to students who already have some work experience.
“Because often times what may turn out to be a part-time job for a student is more than just earning a paycheck,” Kozak says. “It's about earning the life experience and the experience that will complement their degree.”
They say getting the grade is really only part of the college experience. Internships and even part-time jobs can add up to the experience that students will need later on.