Students can now earn up to $6,000 per year in tuition breaks by working customer service jobs near ASU's Tempe campus, thanks to a partnership between ASU, PayPal and nonprofit Education at Work.
In addition to a starting wage of $9 an hour, students receive tuition breaks based on their GPA and enrollment status.
Megan Bowling, the associate director of marketing for Education at Work, said the partnership helps meet ASU and Education at Work's common goals — cutting down on student debt and equipping students with valuable workplace skills.
"What we do is give students and employers an opportunity to help students improve those things," she said.
Anita Tarango, adviser to ASU's senior vice president and director of outreach, said the partnership has enabled the University to help students minimize debt by offering a unique way to make money while earning a break on tuition.
"ASU decided to partner with Education at Work because we have similar missions," she said. "They want to help students succeed in college, be prepared for meaningful work after graduation and reduce student. That's definitely in line with the mission we have here at ASU."
Although students work PayPal jobs on ASU property, they are technically employees of Education at Work. The nonprofit takes care of the day-to-day operations, handles on-boarding and completes other managerial tasks usually completed by the company for whom employees are performing.
Sophomore art studies major Erik Naranjo now works for PayPal's social media help desk and said he was interested when he learned he could work near campus with flexible hours and receive a break on his tuition.
Naranjo said he enjoys the nature of the job, offering help to PayPal customers through their social media accounts.
"It challenges you to think critically and actually use your brain," he said.
ASU first notified students of the potential job via email. When the email went out, there were only 50 positions available. However, about 700 students applied for the jobs, Bowling said. By the end of the year, Education at Work hopes to fill 400 total spots.
Although Education at Work is based in Ohio, it has liaisons working on the ASU campus to ensure students succeed.
Amanda Nash is an ASU alumna and the associate director of educational outreach for Education at Work. She works hand-in-hand with student ambassadors to put students to work in the PayPal call center.
After Nash graduated from ASU, she worked at the school as a transfer admission specialist. She said the largest need she saw among transfer students was in financial aid.
"For me, this was a no-brainer," she said. "Between my own experiences and seeing other students, I thought this was an amazing opportunity to help."
Transfer students usually see a spike in tuition prices and do not always qualify for as many scholarships as incoming freshmen. Through partnerships such as this one, students will have an opportunity to help offset that rise in cost, Nash said.
Education at Work has a similar partnership with the Ohio-based Mount St. Joseph University, a small, private college. However, the partnership with ASU is the organization's first national collaboration.
The ASU community has enabled Education at Work to make the partnership the best it can be, Bowling said.
"It's been incredible seeing the support ASU has provided us as we've gone along this journey with them," she said.
Editor's Note: Megan Bowling and reporter Joshua Bowling share the same last name, but are not related.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @mrjoshuabowling on Twitter.
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