COVID-19 takes a major toll on working college students

Above: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels Business News | 18 Oct |

The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt local businesses and forced restaurants to close, and now it has a new victim — part-time working college students.

College students are losing their jobs because employers are forced to let them go due to the pandemic’s impact on business.

A College Reaction/Axios poll said that out of 822 college students surveyed between April 10-12, 75% said that their jobs were canceled, moved remote or delayed.

This meant that college students who depend on their jobs to pay for tuition and books had to find new ways to make money.

“We were furloughed and then we were told that we should probably file for unemployment,” said Megan Hill, a sophomore at Arizona State University. “I ended up getting a second job at a nursing home, because I wasn’t sure if I would ever get that job back.”

Hill worked at Adaptive Services at the City of Scottsdale Park and Recreation and was furloughed for three months when the pandemic hit Arizona.

Family members also experienced complications with their regular jobs. Her mom lost her job of 34 years and was not able to return to it after businesses opened up again. Hill and her family faced another major obstacle as well.

“COVID spread so fast in our house,” Hill said after they found out her dad had tested positive.

Hill ended up testing positive shortly after her parents and was not able to continue working at the nursing home.

During her struggle with COVID, Hill was receiving COVID pay from her employers which eased her financial stress.

Hill said that she was able to return back to her job at Adaptive Services once she had recovered.

That was not the case for Yanellis Linares, a junior at Scottsdale Community College.

“The day before everything closed, I was told I have 100% job security and that we weren’t closing,” Linares said. “The next day, within a few hours, I got an email from my corporate office that we’ve all been laid off.”

Linares worked as a hostess at the Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill back in March when the pandemic forced restaurants to close.

She said that she was able to receive unemployment benefits unlike some of her friends who were denied.

Linares said before the benefits, she was surviving off of her last paycheck and the money she had left in her savings account.

“I wish [the government] would provide a stimulus check for students who are out of work or were laid off,” Linares said.

Linares said that she managed to pay for tuition and books through scholarships, something that Hill was struggling with.

ASU received $63.5 million as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to distribute to students who were struggling financially to obtain their degrees during the pandemic, according to ASU Health Services.

Hill said she was hoping some of that money would be given to her.

“I wrote a letter saying that my dad works a really low paying job, my mom lost her job, I ended up losing mine, my brother has a heart condition and we all ended up getting COVID,” Hill said.

ASU said that $3.5 million of the CARES Act would be for students “whose financial circumstances have changed” due to the pandemic, and $1 million would be set aside specifically for students who come forward with unmet needs.

This was to help 2,000 additional students.

“I ended up not getting qualified for anything. Not going to lie, I cried,” Hill said.

Hill said that going forward, she would like for ASU to provide more opportunities, specifically for students who are laid off.

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