Students at the University of Colorado-Boulder who also work on campus are seeing their hours cut to no more than 25 per week, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
Because the ACA requires employers to offer health coverage for employees working 30 hour or more, students who work to defray the costs of their education are being demoted to part-time status to save money.
“After the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the campus took the opportunity to examine the number of hours student employees were working per week and has established a policy which sets the maximum number of hours a student employee can work during a bi-weekly pay period,” the university informed students in an online notice posted Sept. 30.
CU-Boulder, the announcement continued, has traditionally offered students the opportunity to work on campus to defray the cost of attending the university and “to help them learn valuable skills and gain work experience.”
The real experience may be political — Democratic Sen. Mark Udall voted in favor of the ACA and has said he would do so again. That’s become a major talking point for his opponent, Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, who has hammered Udall for supporting the policy.
The conservative youth group Generation Opportunity took up Gardner’s argument against Udall by highlighting CU’s new policy.
“As if we needed more proof that Obamacare is dunking young people: CU Boulder has announced that it’s cutting hours for student employees on campus,” said Gen Opp state director Jonathan Lockwood, in a press release. “The ‘Affordable’ Care Act, which has increased the cost of healthcare for my generation, is also killing our chances at future success here in Colorado. This is what Senator Mark Udall calls a ‘success’?
“Students in Colorado, who are facing an average loan debt of $25,000, deserve better than this flawed policy that is literally destroying our opportunity to work hard for our futures,” he said. “While we subsidize the healthcare of older and wealthier Americans, we’re seeing our own premiums increased while our jobs are cut.”
CU spokesman Ryan Huff told tTe Washington Times that the change would affect only about 10 percent of students with jobs on campus, since most already worked 25 hours or less per week.
The ACA, he told the paper, was “a catalyst to look at our student employment data, but not the sole reason we’re making this move.”
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