30-Hour Work Week Is a Critical Threshold for More Than Just Health Care

The way colleges count adjuncts’ workloads is important not only for determining whether they are eligible for health insurance under the new health-care law but also for their participation in some other federal programs.

A federal student-loan-forgiveness program uses the same 30-hour benchmark as the health-care law for determining full-time employment, a key requirement for eligibility. And at least one adjunct is having trouble qualifying because the colleges she teaches for are reluctant to certify how many hours an adjunct like her works.

Heidi Petersen, an adjunct based in Colorado who teaches online courses in ethics for two institutions, has struggled to get administrators to complete paperwork in which they must calculate and certify the average number of hours she works each week. She needs that paperwork to get confirmation from the U.S. Department of Education that she qualifies for a loan-forgiveness program for people who work for public-service organizations. Most nonprofit colleges count as public-service employers under the rules for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

“The certification paperwork asks how many hours per week does this person work, and that’s the question that trips everyone up,” said Ms. Petersen, who teaches two online courses for National University and one course at Front Range Community College, where she also works three hours each week as a consultant for the institution’s writing center. By her calculations, which date to 2009 and include the time she has spent in work-related conferences and various mandatory training sessions, she has worked at least 30 hours a week, and possibly more, between the two institutions. <Read more.>

Via Audrey Williams June, The Chronicle of Higher Ed.