Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Affordable Care Act Costs Students

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As we have all been made grossly aware through the recent government shutdown and website malfunctions, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is beginning its implementation.  Back in 2010, there were many debates about the piecemeal deals that were non-healthcare related within the 800-page bill and what affect these agreements would have on Americans once executed.  One of the newest implementations is the limitation on student work hours.
The Affordable Care Act restricts the amount of hours that students can work to under 30 hours per week (many schools are capped around 25 to 28 hours).  For law students, this is not a new requirement as law schools typically prohibit employment beyond 20 hours a week in order for students to meet the heavy demands of this type of education.  However, undergraduate students didn’t usually have work restrictions prior to this new regulation.  While most students do not work a full time job (40+ hours) while simultaneously enrolled in school full time, the ones who do will be diminished as they are obviously working more hours for a reason. 
Further, some new policies require students to maintain at least a 2.75 UGPA in order to take on employment in addition to class work, which prevents students who may currently be working to quit their job.  Other newly implemented regulations prohibit student employees from working at two church affiliates simultaneously.  For example, a student from Brigham Young University (a private university owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) cannot simultaneously work for the school and another LDS Church affiliate.  Many of the BYU students had to decide which job they would keep.
Fewer work hours mean less time to gain true work experience before graduation – an important factor in acquiring a job during a recession.  Additionally, if students are financing their own education, they may have to resort to more loans and acquire more debt upon graduation.
Employment hours are not only changing for students, but for faculty and staff as well.  Here is a list of examples of school districts that have made changes due to the recent enforcement of healthcare reform.  Many will have to tighten their belts a few notches more and the importance of budgeting cannot be overemphasized.

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