State PIRGs' Higher Education Project
218 D Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 546-9707

Ivan Frishberg

Ellynne Bannon


For Immediate Release:
April 16, 2002

Tracey King
Ellynne Bannon
(202) 546-9707

Jobs Not Working For Many College Students

Nearly half of all full-time students who work are working enough hours to hurt their academic achievement and the quality of their education, according to a new report released by the State PIRGs' Higher Education Project today. The report, "At What Cost?: The Price that Working Students Pay for a College Education," is based on data from the 1999-2000 Department of Education's National Postsecondary Student Aid Survey (NPSAS).

Forty-six percent (46%) of all full-time working students work 25 or more hours per week. Many of these students reported that working hurts their academics and college experience. For example 42% of students who work 25 or more hours a week reported negative impacts on their grades. The more hours that students work, the more likely they are to report negative impacts on their grades and quality of education.

"College is a time when students engage in a broad set of educational opportunities ranging from academics to civic engagement and community service. However, all too often the very education students are working to pay for is being compromised by the number of hours that they spend on the job," said Ellynne Bannon, State PIRGs Higher Education Advocate. "For too many students, working has become a barrier rather than a help to advancing their education," Bannon added.

"The typical full-time student spends 36-45 hours a week on their course work. Students who work 25 or more hours a week are spending 60-80 hours on academics or paid work," said Bannon. "One in five working students struggles with full-time employment. Congress should make college more affordable by increasing grant aid so that students are not sacrificing a quality college experience," concluded Bannon.

The analysis found that 63% of students who work more than 25 hours a week reported that they would not be able to afford college if they did not work.

The report, "At What Cost?: The Price that Working Students Are Paying for a College Education," can be found on-line at

The State PIRGs are non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy groups. The Higher Education Project was established in 1994 to secure more aid for students, with a focus on additional grants, lowering the cost of borrowing, and better service to students in the federal financial aid system.