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T he same day President Barack Obama came to campus to speak about the importance of college affordability and maintaining low student loan interest rates, I had the privilege of attending a ceremony honoring student employees who work on campus to defray their cost of education.

The president said in his speech at the Coors Events Center last week that college students are not lazy. I can certainly attest to that.

The University of Colorado Boulder has 4,000 students who work on campus performing countless services with enthusiasm, dedication and initiative, while balancing work with academics. More than half continue their work throughout the summer. Student employees can be found on the front lines, behind the scenes and everywhere in between supporting the mission of the university.

Recent studies cited by the American Council on Education using U.S. Department of Education data show that students who work between 10 and 20 hours per week perform better academically than others.

Students in a campus job related to their academic interests or career aspirations have even higher rates of persistence and degree completion, according to ACE.

Further, on campus employment tends to contribute more to academic success than off-campus employment because supervisors are likely to be more sensitive to academic demands and class schedules.

CU-Boulder student employees work in a variety of areas — from leading fitness classes to programming circuit boards. Our students are awarded $3 million annually in state and federally supported work-study aid.

In addition to defraying their cost of education, they hone time-management skills and better prepare themselves for the job market upon graduation.

Last week’s ceremony, just hours before the president’s speech, honored the best of the best of CU-Boulder student employees. Supervisors submitted 36 nominations for Student Employee of the Year, including one outstanding young man who works in my office.

While it was a pleasure to honor all the nominees, senior Caitlin Hoffman, majoring in humanities, was singled out for her leadership and professionalism in working with students and parents in the Office of Orientation.

While about one in seven CU-Boulder students work on campus, thousands more are supporting their educations with off-campus jobs. The Office of Student Employment maintains job postings for both on- and off-campus jobs available to CU students by using the CU student portal. This gives students access to a private pool of jobs. And it gives employers in the community confidence that they have a high-quality group of applicants who are CU students.

President Obama in his speech said he’s proud of you — our students — for doing what it takes to make an investment in your college education. I second the chief executive.

Philip P. DiStefano is chancellor of the University of Colorado Boulder.

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