Students facing economic challenges
While the Federal and state governments have been battling with record deficits for the past few years and major corporations as well as small businesses are continuing to close their doors, many people are left to wander on an undesirable path of unemployment or underemployment.
A significant percentage of Yavapai College students who do find employment are forced to work positions that they would not have chosen to work in the past. They work these jobs just so they can try to meet their basic financial obligations.
Many of these students are also living with their parents to avoid the additional costs associated with renting.
Nursing student Jessica Smyer who has been attending Yavapai College since 2009 said, “I am living with my parents because it’s a lot more affordable for me than renting.” According to Smyer she has no other choice but to work part-time at a tanning salon where she barely makes enough to pay her tuition. She also added that she has been unsuccessful in finding a better paying position.
Smyer also said that she does not qualify for financial aid because her parents make above the required income guidelines but that they are not able to afford to help her with tuition.
Yavapai College has also seen a significant increase in enrollment in this year’s fall semester and the demand for student employment positions have also increased on campus as a result of the lack of available jobs off campus. Tom Hughes YC director of institutional research said, “As of August 22, 2010 the headcount stood at 7,871, up 4.06 percent from the same [time] a year ago. An even bigger increase showed up in the Fall full-time student equivalent statistic: up to 10.68 percent over last fall.” Hughes also said, “Research shows that when the economy is in recession people go back to school in greater numbers for new or updated job/career skills.”
Anna Holm, a returning radiology student who commutes from Cottonwood to Prescott said, “I had to return…to school because my accounting business downsized.”
Marcee Keller, Yavapai College student employment coordinator for the last 5 years said, “There has been an increase in the number of student employees seeking on-campus jobs.” Keller also said “When I first started in this position, I had to sell the Work-Study jobs to students in order to use up the money that the Federal government requires us to award/spend/use”¦ starting two years ago the tables turned completely around. We use up all of our Work-Study funding; by September, we had awarded students everything we had.”
Shawn Mosher, a new student who lives in student housing, added that he had moved to Prescott from California to pursue his college education and to also find a job. He went on to say though that it has been difficult finding work.
Page Motolla, a new YC student, says, “I can’t find a job but maybe I will find one soon.”
A number of Yavapai College students who are working and attending school have also faced the difficulty of working many hours but still having problems paying their rent.
Amanda Panozzo a student with Yavapai College for the past fiveyears said, “The economy has affected my schooling because my job has cut back on my hours, and that cuts into my cash for bills and school.” Panozzo also said, “I have to work two jobs so I have enough to also pay my rent.”
It has been especially difficult for Yavapai College students in finding employment given the fact that Yavapai County has the third largest unemployment rate in the State at a rate of 9.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statics.