Essay Research

5660 Words Jan 31st, 2015 23 Pages
Understanding the Working College Student
New research shows that students are working more and juggling a multitude of roles, creating anxiety and lowering graduation rates.
By Laura W. Perna
Related Charts
Percentage of 16- to 24-Year-Old College Students Who Were Enrolled Full Time and Employed, 1970 to 2005 (.pdf)
Percentage of 16- to 24-Year-Old College Students Who Were Enrolled Part Time and Employed, 1970 to 2005 (.pdf)
"Ten to fifteen hours per week, on campus.”
This is the typical response from faculty members and administrators who are asked how much undergraduate students should work at paying jobs while attending college. Available research supports this recommendation. Quantitative studies consistently show that
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Contrary to the common belief that community college students are more likely to be employed than students at four-year institutions, the distribution of undergraduates by the number of hours worked is similar at public two-year, public four-year, and private four-year institutions, after controlling for differences in attendance status.
Working is now a fundamental responsibility for many undergraduates. But understanding how employment affects students’ educational experiences is complicated by why students work. Many students must work to pay the costs of attending college. As College Board policy analyst Sandy Baum argues in a 2010 collection of essays I edited, Understanding the Working College Student: New Research and Its Implications for Policy and Practice, while some of these students are awarded “work” as part of their financial aid package, other students either do not receive work-study funding or find such awards insufficient to cover the costs of attendance. Some traditional-age students may use employment as a way to explore career options or earn spending money. For other students, particularly adult students, work is a part of their identity, as Carol Kasworm, a professor of adult education at North Carolina State University, and other contributors to Understanding the Working College Student point out. Regardless of the reason for working, trying to meet the

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