Essay on Working in College

4026 Words 17 Pages
Working in College

Executive Summary
• Students are increasingly likely to work while in college. Since 1984, the fraction of
college students aged 16 to 24 who also work full- or part-time has increased from 49
to 57 percent. Not only are students more likely to work today, but they are more
likely to work full-time: the share of students working full-time while going to school
full-time has nearly doubled, rising from 5.6 percent in 1985 to 10.4 percent in 2000.
In 2000, 828,000 full-time students worked full-time, compared to 366,000 in 1985.
• Working students can be categorized into two groups: those who primarily identify
themselves as students but who work in order to pay the bills, and those who are first
and foremost
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In 2000, nearly 830,000
full-time college students worked full-time. Because of the adverse effects of such
full-time work, tens of thousands of these college students are likely to drop out of
school and fail to receive a college degree.
• Working a limited number of hours (e.g., 10 hours a week) at an on-campus job
appears to have positive impacts on student performance, while working a significant
number of hours (e.g., 35 hours or more per week) has adverse consequences. It is
unclear at what point student employment moves from being beneficial to being
counterproductive. But the difference between graduating from college and not
graduating from college may involve a change in work schedules that would have a
modest impact on student earnings relative to the lifetime gains from completing
college. For example, reducing hours worked by 10 hours (from 35 hours per week
to 25 hours per week) would reduce a student’s annual earnings during the school
year by roughly $2,250. Such potential earnings pale in comparison to the lifetime
gains from completing college.
• Since full-time work appears to have negative effects on student enrollment rates and
perhaps also on academic performance, it is therefore of particular concern that fulltime
work among full-time college students has risen sharply over the past 15…

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