April 16, 2002
Not Working For Many College Students
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
"At What Cost?: The Price that Working Students Are Paying
for a College Education," can be found on-line at www.pirg.org/highered/atwhatcost.html.
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.