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Working College Students

The vast majority of college students today work, but their motivations and experiences vary widely based on demographics.

Most college students are working as they study, but the amount and type of work varies widely. And the forces behind those variances aren’t random.

Low-income working students tend to work longer hours than their high-income counterparts. They also are more likely to be black or Latinx, older and female, according to a 2018 report from the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

“To me, it boils down to the story of how higher ed is compounding social inequity,” said Lindsay Ahlman, associate director of research at the Institute for College Access and Success.

The Georgetown report found that 70 percent of full-time college students are working. While more students are working, the number working full-time has decreased, from 40 percent in the late 1980s to 26 percent in 2012.

Still, low-income working students are more likely to work full-time than those who are high income (26 percent versus 22 percent). The majority of students across income brackets are working 15 to 35 hours per week.

Previous research has shown that, while working can be beneficial for students, there is a threshold where it starts to do more harm than good. Students who work 15 hours or more per week are more likely to have a C average or lower, while those who work less than 15 hours are more likely to have a B average or higher.

Students who work less also are more likely to be enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs, versus associate degree and certificate programs.

Working experiences also vary depending on students’ incomes. For high-income students, their work is more likely to connect to longer-term professional and academic goals.

Full article here.

posted in: Blogging, Diversity, News

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