The University of Kansas has reduced student employment hours from 30 hours a week to 20 hours a week due to the Affordable Care Act mandate that compels employers to provide health insurance to part-time workers, Campus Reform reports.
Graduate students can work no more than 29 hours.
“The revised policy seeks to balance the necessity for students to make academic progress while managing potential fiscal liabilities with ACA,” vice provost for administration and finance Diane Goddard said in an email to the departments obtained by The University Daily Kansan.
According to The Daily Kansan, Director of Human Resources Ola Faucher estimates that nearly 5,000 student employees and every university department will be impacted by the cutbacks in employment hours.
However, KU spokesman Gavin Young told KSHB Kansas City that of their student workers, “there are very few who are actually working over the 20 hour limit, comparatively.”
Student workers are concerned at how the university’s new policy will affect them.
Senior Elizabeth Melton, for instance, works at KU’s Anschutz Library 25 hours a week. With the cutbacks, Melton will have to take out more student loans.
“I wouldn’t have enough money to pay for all my expenses next semester,” Melton told The Daily Kansan. “So I’m going to be in a lot more debt once I graduate than I would have been normally, because I was trying to kinda keep up with it just so I didn’t have to take out a loan, and now I do.”
Another student, senior Rachel Prather, works at a tutoring center and isn’t sure how she will be able to afford food.
“I need any extra income I can get, and that means every hour of the day that I’m not in class I’m working and I value that a lot,” Prather told KSHB. “I can’t really imagine how I’m going to buy groceries on twenty hours or less a week.”
Senior Kristina Nielander also told KSHB that finding off-campus employment to offset the reduction in on-campus work hours would not be a good alternative.
“If I have a test to study for I can let them know, and they can give me any time off that I need, but I know that would not be the case if I was working a service job,” Nielander said.
According to KSHB, students at KU aren’t blaming the university or President Barack Obama, but are instead blaming Obamacare’s unintended consequences.