Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

Orkideh Mohajeri, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dana Morrison, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline Hodes, Ed.D., Associate Professor/Program Coordinator

Committee Member

John Elmore, Ph.D.


In today’s current system of higher education in the United States, the influence of neoliberal ideology has left students and their families to assume the responsibility of paying for their education as tuition rates rise and state funding decreases. These pressures, leading to financial insecurity and social inequities, force students to spend more time working and less time cultivating their academic and professional skills and personal identity. Student employees are coerced into working excessive hours or multiple positions thus sacrificing learning opportunities from co-curricular involvement, which is essential to the holistic student development. To understand this concern, I examine the conditions facing college student employees that detract from their personal and professional development, including neoliberal ideology, student debt, social inequities through Federal law and policy, and negative academic impacts. While the challenges seem daunting, I argue that there are many ways in which employment simultaneously benefits students. On-campus employers have the opportunity to promote student learning while providing some financial relief. To address these concerns, I propose a developmental program for on-campus student employees, which will lead to increased involvement, mattering, and student growth. Through four stages and meetings with supervisors, students will identify goals and developmental initiatives to participate in to achieve those goals. I also propose an assessment plan that compares pre- and post self-evaluations, supervisor evaluations, and exit interviews, with the goal of determining the effectiveness of the program in helping students increase their involvement, achieve their goals, and develop transferable skills.